US officials told Reuters that President Donald Trump may withdraw nearly all US forces from Somalia as part of a global troop reduction that might be large in Afghanistan and slight in Iraq.
The officials, who spoke on the condition that their names not be mentioned, said that nothing has been finalized and that the US military has not received orders in this regard, yet today there are increasing expectations that the orders will be issued soon.
The US Department of Defense declined to comment on future troop deployment decisions.
Reuters reported Monday that Trump is expected to settle for a partial withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite his promise to withdraw all forces by Christmas.
US officials said Trump is expected to order a slight reduction of troops in Iraq from 3,000 to 2,500.
The United States has about 7,000 soldiers in Somalia who are helping local forces defeat Al-Shabaab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, in a process that has little interest in the United States but is a cornerstone of the Pentagon’s global effort to fight al Qaeda.
Colonel Ahmed Abdullah Sheikh, who served for three years as commander of the Danaab (Al-Barq) Special Forces until 2019, said, “A decision of this type to withdraw would not be based on a threat to combating terrorism in Somalia and could undermine confidence in the United States ..” This matter dictates. Politics”.
Ahmed Abdullah Sheikh emphasized that a rapid withdrawal risks leaving the ground to Al-Shabaab, indicating that this will create a vacuum.
He explained that the Somali security forces are in high spirits due to the presence of American forces, referring to the availability of air support if attacked, and the possibilities for a rapid medical evacuation.
The United States already withdrew from Bosaso and Galkayo about three weeks ago, and its forces are still in the city of Kismayo, a port in the south of the country and an airbase for the Special Forces in Baledogli and in the capital, Mogadishu.
A civil war has ravaged Somalia since 1991, but over the past decade, peacekeepers backed by the African Union wrested control of the capital and large parts of the country from Al Shabaab.