U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized a plan to redeploy hundreds of Special Operations troops inside Somalia. This plan reverses former President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw American troops from the said country last 2021.
Biden’s decision also comes with the approval of the Pentagon’s request for standing authority to target around a dozen suspected leaders of the terrorist group al-Shabab, which operates within Somalia’s borders.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 16, 2022
Additionally, a senior administration official, who preferred to speak anonymously, revealed that this decision comes following intelligence suggesting that the terrorist group could soon pose a more significant threat to the region.
“Al-Shabab has taken advantage of Somali instability and fractious politics to become, as I indicated, al-Qaeda’s largest and wealthiest global affiliate,” the senior official revealed during a call with reporters. “We have seen regrettably clear evidence of al-Shabab’s intent and capability to target Americans in the region,” the official went on to say.
Biden’s Decision to Reverse Trump’s Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Somalia
According to the official, U.S. service members already stationed abroad would move to Somalia. The official later on, revealed that less than 500 U.S. ground forces would relocate to the African country.
In 2020, Trump ordered around 750 U.S. service personnel to withdraw from Somalia by January 2021.
In a statement to CNBC, security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said U.S. troops have moved in and out of Somalia episodically since Trump approved the plan to withdraw service personnel.
“The decision to reintroduce a persistent presence was made to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our forces and enable them to provide more efficient support to our partners,” she added.