The United States Army has completed its troop withdrawal from Somalia, as confirmed by the United States’ African Command (AFRICOM), which has however pointed out that a “very limited” presence will be maintained in the African country.
AFRICOM spokesman Christopher Karns has stated that the withdrawal of the between 650 and 800 soldiers deployed in Somalia – destined to support and train the elite Somali unit Daban – has been completed before the date set in the order. presidential issued in December.
Thus, he has indicated that there is “a very limited US presence in the country for protection of the force and operational reasons,” although he has avoided giving more details on this point. “The presidential order has been carried out”, he has settled.
US military sources had previously pointed out that most of the personnel deployed in Somalia would be relocated to the region, although Karns did not want to comment on it “due to ongoing operations.”
The United States has vowed to maintain support for government forces in their fight against the jihadist group Al Shabaab. “Our focus remains largely on Al Shabaab. It would not be smart to be put to the test,” Karns warned.
Al Shabaab on Sunday carried out an attack on a convoy of Somali forces escorting the governor of the Lower Shabelle region, Abdikadir, around the town of Tihsile, located about 50 kilometers west of the country’s capital, Mogadishu.
The convoy was heading to Baligodli airport, where much of the US military personnel had been based, in an attack that left five soldiers dead and two members of the Danab special forces wounded, according to the Somali news portal Goobjoob News.
Somalia is facing an increase in the number of attacks by the Islamist militia Al Shabaab – linked to the terrorist organization Al Qaeda – both in Mogadishu and other parts of the south of the country. Given this, the United States has increased its bombardments against the group.
AFRICOM commander Stephen Townsend stated in a document released in mid-February 2020 by the Pentagon that, of all armed extremist groups on the continent, “Al Shabaab is the most dangerous to American interests today.”