AFRICOM Shifts Strategy to Containing Islamists as Pentagon Plans Troop Cuts

US moves away from degrading factions

On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed something that has been long anticipated, that they will be reducing the number of troops in Africa. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has wanted this to free up more troops to send to confront Russia and China.

Facing the cuts, AFRICOM has confirmed that it is shifting its strategy in Africa, and particularly in West Africa, away from trying to degrade Islamist groups. Now, they will merely try to contain them.

AFRICOM confirmed this as a degradation of the stated mission, though they also conceded that the operations so far have not succeeded in either degrading or containing these same groups, and now they’ll have fewer troops to do it with.

AFRICOM told the Office on the Inspector General that US troops need to apply constant pressure in Africa, and that they expect to be involved “for a long period of time” before any African nations can handle matters on their own.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of