On December 4th local time, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that President Trump had ordered the Pentagon to evacuate almost 700 U.S. troops stationed in Somalia early next year.
Trump has “ordered the Department of Defense and the U.S. African Command to resett most of its personnel and assets outside Somalia in early 2021,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
This move came after the visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller to Somalia.
The Ministry of Defense did not disclose how many troops would leave the country or where they would be transferred, but some troops “may be transferred outside East Africa”. The remaining men “will be transferred from Somalia to neighboring countries to allow the United States and partner forces to carry out cross-border operations and maintain military oppression against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia”.
This is Trump’s latest move to withdraw troops from overseas conflicts. In November, he ordered the withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and 500 from Iraq by mid-January, despite the advice of military and national security leaders.
The withdrawal from Somalia violated the plan of Mark Esper, the recently dismissed Pentagon leader, who advocated the deployment of leaner troops in Africa through the withdrawal of troops from some northern countries in the Sahel region.
The order also contested by the Inspector Generals of the U.S. Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, who warned last month that the Somali army could not resist the terrorist threat in the country without the support of the U.S. military.