Sunday, June 26, 2022

Biden will deploy US troops to Somalia, reversing Trump’s order

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – President Joe Biden signed an order Monday to redeploy hundreds of US troops to Somalia to counter the Islamic extremist rebel group al-Shabaab, an effort US military leaders said. That was hampered by a late decision by President Donald Trump. Remove the army from the country.

US troops will be moved from elsewhere in Africa to provide training and other support to Somali forces in the fight against al-Shabaab, considered the largest and wealthiest ally of the al-Qaeda extremist organization.

It is a reminder that America is engaged in a protracted fight against Islamic extremists around the world, even as the war in Ukraine and efforts in other matters have been eclipsed.

National Security Council spokesman Adrienne Watson said the decision to redeploy forces to Somalia, rather than moving them in and out, “will help to maximize the security and effectiveness of our forces and provide them with more efficient support to our allies.” to enable”. announced reappointment.

watch: US commanders say Afghanistan, Somalia withdrawal making it difficult to counter terror groups

Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of about 700 troops from Somalia at the end of his term in January 2021, an extension of a broader policy of pulling out America referred to as the “endless war” around the world.

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But military leaders said that came at a cost, wasting time, money and speed as soldiers had to move in and out of the country.

The head of US Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend, told Congress in March that the rotations, which he called “come to work,” were not efficient or effective and put American troops at greater risk.

“In my view, we are moving forward in the best place. We can backtrack,” Townsend told the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requested the deployment to “reestablish a persistent US military presence in Somalia to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabaab, which has grown in strength and poses a greater threat.” An administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan ahead of the White House announcement.

Biden’s decision to sign the order was first reported by The New York Times, which also noted that the president had made a Pentagon request for permanent authority to target nearly a dozen suspected leaders of al-Shabaab. was approved.

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The group has killed more than a dozen Americans in East Africa, including three January 2020 attacks on a base used by US counter-terrorism forces in Kenya. Later that year, the US accused a Kenyan who was taking flying lessons in the Philippines of planning a 9/11-style hijacking attack on behalf of al-Shabaab.

The rebel group has made territorial gains against Somalia’s federal government in recent months, reversing the gains of African Union peacekeepers who once pushed terrorists into the country’s remote areas.

Word of the deployment decision came after Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, who served as Somalia’s president between 2012 and 2017, was announced on Sunday as the winner of a lengthy election.

The fall of Somalia began in 1991 when the warlords ousted the dictator Siad Barre and then turned their backs on each other. Years of conflict and al-Shabaab attacks, along with famine, have shattered the country that has a long, strategic coastline bordered by the Indian Ocean.

Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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