WASHINGTON (Somaliguardian) – The United States is considering sending troops back to Somalia, more than six months after former president Donald Trump ordered American forces to withdraw from the Horn of Africa nation.
The head of US Africa Command sharing his views with the Pentagon’s top civilian leadership on Tuesday urged that troops be redeployed to the war-torn nation, plagued by a more than three decade-long conflict.
“I think we’ll keep those options right where they should be, in private communications with the secretary of defense, so our civilian leaders have the opportunity to make their decisions,” US Africa Command chief Gen. Stephen Townsend said during the European Union Defense Washington Forum.
It has proved so hard to train, advise and assist Somalia’s forces from afar, he added as the militant group Al-Shabaab increases attacks in southern and central regions of the country.
“I would say, though, that there’s really no denying our repositioning – fairly sudden repositioning – out of Somalia earlier this has introduced new layers of risk and complexity to our mission there,” Townsend said.
“Right now, we’re commuting back and forth to work,” Townsend added.
In January after the administration of former US president Donald Trump announced it had decided to pull out nearly 700 American troops from Somalia, the country’s leaders expressed fear that the move might embolden Islamist militants, who continue to wage an insurgency campaign to topple the western-backed federal government based in Mogadishu.
“We have limited opportunities to do that when we fly in and fly out for training,” AFRICOM chief said.
Director of the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) Hervé Bléjean, speaking at the forum on Tuesday, said Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group in Somalia still “enjoys a lot of freedom of action on the territory” and “you can really feel the atmosphere of the insecurity there” in the war-wrecked nation.
He added that the “war is far from over and they need some help to make that journey to the autonomy of the security and armed forces”.
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