No word on US pull-out from Somalia as deadline lapses

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU:   President Trump’s order to withdraw troops from Somalia has remained in the balance after the January 15 deadline lapsed with no movement of troops.

Trump ordered the withdrawal of the 700 soldiers based in Somalia early December with Pentagon noting they would be stationed in neighbouring countries. The US maintains its main base in Djibouti and Kenya’s coast region.

Joint Task Force-Quartz mandated to oversee the withdrawal did not put out an official position on the Somali case but spokesman Maj. Andrew Caulk told the media the matter was not up for discussion at the moment.

“Due to force protection and operational considerations, we will not discuss timelines associated with repositioning of forces at this time,” said Caulk.

The planned withdrawal of US troops from Somalia has been widely criticised as tantamount to giving space the militant group Al-Shabaab to make a major comeback. The withdrawal will also adversely affect the training of local forces which the US troops have been doing.

The Department of Defence, however, confirmed the reduction of 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan, and from 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, had been met.




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