According to a Pentagon statement released on Friday, President Trump has ordered the withdrawal of the majority of U.S. troops from Somalia. However, this move doesn’t equate to a withdrawal from Africa. The troops are expected to be repositioned in the neighboring countries. Currently, the United States has about 700 troops stationed in the country.

“The President of the United States has ordered the Department of Defense and the United States Africa Command to reposition the majority of personnel and assets out of Somalia by early 2021,” the Pentagon statement said.

“While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy,” a news release announcing the withdrawal specified. “We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.”

The Pentagon stressed that Washington remains committed to our African allies despite the announced withdrawal from Somalia. It vowed to continue supporting the Somalian government in its continued fight against the terrorist group al-Shabaab. 

It was reported that Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller decided on a troop reduction earlier last week when he made a rare visit to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, while visiting U.S. troops in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. 

Following the withdrawal, is expected that the majority of U.S. troops will “reposition” to Kenya and Djibouti “to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces in order to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.” Some of the troops will, however, deploy out of Africa. 

“The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland,” the Pentagon’s statement added.

Recently, a CIA paramilitary officer and former Navy SEAL was killed at Gendershe, a village about 30 miles southwest of Mogadishu, during a raid with Somalian “Danab” Special Forces troops. Intelligence had reported that several al-Shabaab senior officers were supposed to be in the village.