President Biden has rescinded a withdrawal order given by former President Donald Trump in the last weeks of his presidency and is once again deploying U.S. special forces to fight terrorists in Somalia.
Four officials told The New York Times that the order ‘largely reverses’ Trump’s withdrawal of nearly 700 troops that had been deployed to Somalia to fight the Islamist terror group Al Shabab, which is affiliated with al Qaeda.
“Together, the decisions by Mr. Biden, described by the officials on the condition of anonymity, will revive an open-ended American counterterrorism operation that has amounted to a slow-burn war through three administrations,” the Times noted. “The move stands in contrast to his decision last year to pull American forces from Afghanistan, saying that ‘it is time to end the forever war’.”
“Mr. Biden signed off on the proposal by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III in early May,” the Times added. “In a statement, Adrienne Watson, the National Security Council spokeswoman, acknowledged the move, saying it would enable ‘a more effective fight against Al Shabab’.”
“The decision to reintroduce a persistent presence was made to maximize the safety and effectiveness of our forces and enable them to provide more efficient support to our partners,” she said.
The Pentagon did not give a precise number of troops that would be deployed to Somalia, but the unnamed officials who leaked the information to the Times gave the estimate that it would not exceed 450.
The Biden administration has thus pivoted hard from the Covid pandemic response that dominated its first year in office to aiding Ukraine in its fight against Russia and reigniting the U.S. ‘War on Terror.’