US confirms withdrawal of troops from Somalia by early 2021

The US Department of Defense has announced [Friday 4 December 2020] that it will withdraw about 700 troops from Somalia, where the US has been involved for an extended period in fighting a low-intensity battle against the local al Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab.

The primary US objective in Somalia is to minimize the ability of al-Shabaab and other violent groups to destabilise Somalia or its neighbours and harm the United States or its allies.

The troop withdrawal was anticipated, and follows similar reductions in U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is is part of a wider troop pullback by outgoing US President Donald Trump. As in Afghanistan and Iraq, the withdrawal from Somalia will encompass virtually all of the US troops now present.

The Pentagon’s statement said that the “U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa. We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach,” it said in its statement. “While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy.”

Read related media coverage:
Trump Pulls Most US Troops from Somalia, But ‘Not Withdrawing’ from Africa (Newsweek)
Trump orders a near total withdrawal of American troops from Somalia (France24)
Trump Orders All American Troops Out of Somalia (New York Times)
Trump orders US to pull troops from Somalia (The Guardian)
Trump orders most US troops out of Somalia (Al Jazeera)