Biden to return hundreds of US troops to Somalia
US President Joe Biden has authorized the deployment of American troops to Somalia, reversing a decision by his predecessor Donald Trump last year to remove nearly all forces from the East African nation.
The White House said Monday the decision was based on a request made by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. It was first reported by The New York Times.
Prior to Trump’s withdrawal, the Pentagon had about 700 troops in Somalia, purportedly to help local forces defeat the al-Shabab militant group.
Biden’s order comes as Washington is considering strengthening its military foothold in Africa to counter the growing influence of its rival, China, which has been promoting its ties with several African countries.
The US maintains its military presence in Africa under the pretext of fighting terrorism, but human rights groups say civilians have been caught in the crossfire and casualties from US airstrikes are higher than have been reported.