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.
.@PentagonPresSec: @POTUS has authorized the Department of Defense to return a small, persistent U.S. military presence to Somalia. This decision was based on a request from @SecDef, advice from senior commanders, and concern for our troops. pic.twitter.com/mm0hJqQZJd— Department of Defense ?? (@DeptofDefense) May 16, 2022
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,
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