The Biden administration is deploying US troops to Somalia. President Biden signed off on the plan on Monday, along with a plan to target some dozen leaders of Al Shabab. Trump had withdrawn troops from the war-torn region near the end of his time in office. About 450 troops will be sent to Somalia, on Africa's east coast.
The troops being redeployed to Somalia are Special Operations forces, and the Pentagon has also been given authority to target leaders of Al Shabab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, according to The New York Times.
Officials spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, saying that this essentially "will revive an open-ended American counterterrorism operation that has amounted to a slow-burn war through three administrations."
Biden pulled the US out of a long war in Afghanistan in August 2021. The withdrawal, promised by outgoing President Donald Trump, was widely criticized as disorganized and chaotic. It resulted in the deaths of 13 US service members.
"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," said National Security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. She called the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw troops "precipitous."
The concern is that Al Shabab poses a threat to US outposts in the region, including an attack on a US airbase in Kenya in January 2020. An official told the Times that the plan with this new deployment is to bring "the threat to a level that is tolerable."
The US, under Biden's leadership, is also engaged in a conflict in Ukraine, providing that nation with arms as well as billions of dollars to assist them to fight off neighboring Russia, which invaded in February.