- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The U.S. military will cut about 10 percent of its forces in Africa over the next three years, a top general said Wednesday, telling reporters the troops are needed in other hot spots around the world.

“We all realize, you know, Africa, with regards to the prioritization of our national interests … there’s no doubt about the fact that that it’s, you know, it’s not number one on the list,” said Marine Corps Gen. and head of U.S. Africa Command Thomas Waldhauser, as quoted by the Military Times.

About 6,000 American troops and another 1,000 civilian Pentagon employees are currently in Africa. Gen. Waldhauser said the cuts will be carried out in two phases, with the first wave being completed by June 2020 and the second by January 2022. Roughly 300 troops will be pulled from special forces and another 300 from conventional forces, the Military Times reported.

The drawdown is not expected to be temporary, Gen. Waldhauser said, and U.S. Africa Command will likely have to function with fewer troops for the foreseeable future.

“We’re probably never going to get any more, and we might get less. So we’ve got to stop whining and you just got to get on with it,” he told reporters in Munich, where he’s attending a high-level global security conference.

The U.S. has suffered losses in Africa over the past several years. In October 2017, four U.S. soldiers will killed by Islamic militants in Niger.

Last June, another soldier was killed and four others wounded during a firefight al Shabaab extremists.

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