- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 17, 2020

President Trump is reportedly considering withdrawing virtually all U.S. troops from Somalia as he seeks to reduce the number of American forces abroad in his final months in office.

The potential additional drawdown orders, first reported by Reuters, comes just a day after reports surfaced that the president is preparing to withdraw 2,500 American troops from Afghanistan and another 500 from Iraq.

There are currently about 700 U.S. troops stationed in Somalia that are assigned to missions to counter a resurgence of terrorist organizations — namely al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab cells — in the region.

Mr. Trump’s new acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has stressed that the U.S. must continue its fight against al Qaeda and other extremist groups.

In a weekend memo to Pentagon staff, he said the U.S. is “on the verge of defeating al Qaeda and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish. Indeed, this fight has been long, our sacrifices have been enormous, and many are weary of war — I’m one of them — but this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role.”

Somalia has been locked in a violent civil war for nearly three decades, but peacekeeping efforts have taken back control of several key cities from al Shabaab.

“All wars must end,” Mr. Miller said. “Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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