Trump could withdraw troops from Somalia as part of global pullback

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity and said there’s no final decision on the issue yet. On Tuesday, however, there seemed to be an increasing expectation that drawdown orders would soon be arriving.

Trump could withdraw troops from Somalia as part of global pullback
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed program, the j...

President Donald Trump could remove almost all U.S. troops from Somalia as part of a global pullback that may see significant cuts in Afghanistan and a minor reduction in Iraq, U.S. officials told RushHourDaily on Tuesday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity and said there’s no final decision on the issue yet. On Tuesday, however, there seemed to be an increasing expectation that drawdown orders would soon be arriving.

The Pentagon has refused to speak about future military deployment actions. Earlier, RushHourDaily reported that Trump had to resolve to limited withdrawal in Afghanistan after pledging full removal of troops.

He is also likely to order a minor drawdown in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500, according to U.S. officials.

In Somalia, the United States has about 700 troops focusing on helping local forces combat the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgency. Their presence is to help in a mission that gets minimal coverage in the United States. However, it is viewed as a pillar of the global efforts of the Pentagon to battle al Qaeda.

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Trump’s newly-appointed Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, a retired Green Beret, and counter-terrorism officer is having a hard look at Somalia. Besides, he may prefer to maintain a small presence there and avoid focusing on large-scale deployments to fight the group.

Critics argue that such a drastic shift in strategy carries considerable risk.

War in Somalia

Colonel Ahmed Abdullahi Sheikh worked as the Danab Special Forces chief for three years until 2019. He said any such pullback move would not be due to the danger of counter-terrorism in Somalia and may weaken trust in the United States.

“It is determined by politics,” he said.

Some three weeks ago, the U.S. had already pulled out of Bossaso and Galkayo. They remain in the southern port city of Kismayo, the Special Forces Airbase in Baledogle, and the capital city of Mogadishu. But there is a chance of a swift withdrawal from Al-Shabaab, Sheik added.

“It would create a void. Because of the U.S. soldiers, the Somali security forces have high confidence. There is a chance of air support if they target them, they will have medevacs,’ Sheikh said.

Since 1991, Somalia has been riven by civil war. However, over the past decade, the African Union-backed peacekeeping force has taken back control of al Shabaab’s capital and broad swaths of the land.

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