White House admits US has troops on the ground in Yemen

In a press briefing on Jan. 17, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said, “I’m not aware of any US forces on the ground.” 


Troops are on the ground in Yemen, according to a report from the White House. When asked if there was a presence there, the Pentagon refused to acknowledge the reality earlier in January.  

“A small number of United States military personnel are deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS,” the White House told Congress in a December 7 report.  

In a press briefing on Jan. 17, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder was asked if he could say with confidence that troops were not on the ground in Yemen. He responded, saying, “I’m not aware of any US forces on the ground.” 

After reporting on the contradiction, the Intercept reached out for comment from the US Department of Defense.  

“Maj Gen Ryder’s prior assertion that there are no US forces on the ground in Yemen remains accurate,” DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Bryon McGarry told the outlet after the report's publication.    

Erik Sperling, the executive director of Just Foreign Policy, told reporters, “It’s possible that US forces are spread so widely around the globe that not even the professional tasked with knowing that can keep track of it all." 

“But it’s also possible that, given the dramatic expansion in US presence in the region in recent months, he is trying to skirt the question to avoid greater scrutiny," he continued.  

The report from the White House back in December stated that "the United States military continues to work closely with the Republic of Yemen government and regional partner forces to degrade the terrorist threat posed by" the terrorist groups.

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