US Africa Command (AFRICOM) was quick to warn of the dangers of a withdrawal from Somalia after reports said President Trump is looking for a reduction of US troops in the African country.
“Somali Armed Forces are making progress, but the threat al-Shabaab presents requires international assistance,” AFRICOM spokesman Col. Chris Karns told the Washington Examiner. The spokesman said al-Shabaab “presents a future threat to America.”
Sources told Bloomberg that the Pentagon has begun drafting plans for the president of a possible Somalia withdrawal. Discussions have involved Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
The US has 650 to 800 troops in Somalia. All or most of the soldiers were sent to the country by the Trump administration. It’s not clear from the report if Trump is looking for a complete withdrawal or just a reduction in forces.
The administration dramatically escalated the drone war in Somalia in 2017 when President Trump loosened the rules of engagement. Since then, the US has dropped a record number of bombs on the country.