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Biden Authorizes Sending Hundreds of Troops to Somalia, Reversing Trump's Pull Out of the East African Country

President Joe Biden has authorized sending hundreds of US troops to Somalia in order to maintain a “persistent” presence in the country.

The move reverses former President Donald Trump’s decision to pull all 700 US troops out of the area, which has been in a civil war since the early 1990s.

Biden is sending the troops to fight the al-Shabaab militant group, which has been in conflict with the Somali government.

“We are proud, first and foremost, to be supporting the Somalis’ own efforts to rebuild their own state and we are working closely with other international partners,” a US official said during an organized White House call with the press, according to a report from the New York Post.

The unnamed official went on to side-step a question about the possibility of US troops having to engage in a “forever war” in Somalia. Both Trump and Biden had campaigned against these types of foreign conflicts.

“This is a step that rationalizes what was essentially an irrational arrangement that we inherited,” the official replied. “It was irrational because it created unnecessary and elevated risk to US forces as they moved in and out of the country on a rotational basis.”

The official also blasted the former president for the pull out, which was completed just days before Biden took office.

“Against the advice of senior US military leadership, the previous administration had directed the withdrawal of approximately 750 US military personnel from Somalia. It was an abrupt and sudden transition to a rotational presence,” the official said.

“Restoring a persistent US military presence will help to increase the security and the freedom of movement for other personnel such as State Department and USAID colleagues as they conduct critical diplomatic and development missions,” the official continued. “The president made this decision to increase the safety and effectiveness of our special operators who have spent the past year-plus since the last administration’s decision moving in and out of Somalia episodically.”

Prior to Trump’s removal of troops, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed had lobbied on Twitter to keep American soldiers in the region.

“The United States military support to Somalia has enabled us to effectively combat Al-Shabab and secure the Horn of Africa. A victory through this journey and for Somali-US partnership can only be achieved through continuous security partnership and capacity building support,” Mohamed wrote.

Accoding to a report from Reuters, Trump’s view was that it was time for Somalians “to police their own neighborhood.”

In 2019, during his presidential campaign, then-candidate Biden promised to keep America out of “forever wars,” though he only specifically cited the Middle East and Yemen.

Biden said during a foreign policy speech in July, 2019 that military force will always be an option, but must be a “last resort” with a “defined” and “achievable mission.”

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