US military pledges to fight Al-Shabaab from Djibouti and Kenya
NAIROBI, Kenya - The US Africa Command will continue cracking down the Al-Shabaab militants from elsewhere in East Africa, AFRICOM said in a statement, just hours after the withdrawal of the army from Somalia, following an order by former President Donald Trump.
It's not clear if the decision will be reversed given that President Joe Biden has been reviewing some of the decisions taken by Trump, but the troops have been repositioned, and are expected to continue firing drones against Al-Shabaab from across the borders.
Gen Stephen Townsend, the commander AFRICOM, said the US army will continue working closely with East Africa partners including in the fight against Al-Shabaab, adding that Washington is keen to safeguard her social-economic and security interests.
The trip, which was Townsend’s first visit to the African continent in 2021, demonstrated U.S. Africa Command’s commitment to East African partners and provided the commander with the opportunity to visit Joint Task Force – Quartz, the organization tasked with overseeing the repositioning of U.S. forces while meeting with commanders, forces, and partners in the region.
"Our strategy in East Africa relies on partnerships,” Townsend said. “East African and international partners are working toward a secure environment in Africa that enables political and economic development. U.S. Africa Command continues to do its part."
Africa faces threats from terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab. It has also emerged as a front for global power competition where both China and Russia are using aggressive diplomatic, economic and military means to expand their access and influence, read a statement by AFRICOM.
While in Djibouti and Kenya, Townsend and Thresher recognized U.S. forces in the region and the effect their actions have on mission success in East Africa, underscoring that U.S. forces in East Africa remain poised to respond to threats, deter aggression, and support partners while advancing the U.S. and regional security.
“U.S. Africa Command assists, supports, and strengthens partnerships and security in Africa. Our professional U.S. military forces are trusted and respected by our African partners and help advance mutual interests and security every day,” said Thresher. “We take pride in this critical mission for America.”
Thresher’s participation on the trip highlighted the emphasis on the need for professional, well trained enlisted corps for partner forces and how it is foundational for any nation’s military success. He recognized U.S. forces and spoke with Somali military leadership about training possibilities. U.S. Africa Command training continues to remain a competitive advantage in an era of global competition.