Back in action

US: Biden reverses Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Somalia

By Julian Pecquet

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on May 17, 2022 12:41

U.S. Army paratroopers deploy to provide airfield security at Manda Bay
U.S. Army soldiers, assigned to the East Africa Response Force (EARF), 101st Airborne Division on a mission to bolster the security of Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya after an attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab militants that killed three Americans, board a transport plane in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti January 5, 2020. U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Daniel Hernandez/Handout via REUTERS.

President Joe Biden is sending several hundred troops back to Somalia to combat what the US is describing as a resurgent Al-Shabaab militant group following the Donald Trump administration’s withdrawal from the country.

The US president has approved a request from Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, which authorises the military to deploy Special Operations forces to Somalia. Biden has also reportedly approved the Pentagon’s request for standing authority to target about a dozen suspected leaders of the East African Al Qaeda affiliate.

The new order is not expected to change the scope of the current US mission in Somalia, which currently relies on troops rotating in and out of the country, a senior administration official said during a 16 May background call with reporters. Instead, it relies on “repositioning troops already stationed in neighbouring countries” in order to “reestablish a small, persistent US military presence” in Somalia.

“First and foremost, the president made this decision to increase the safety and effectiveness of our special operators,” the official said. “We’ve spent the past year,

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime