The US elite Special Operations Forces are deployed in about 12 African nations, including Cameroon, Niger and Somalia, where they help local authorities combat terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda* and its affiliate al-Shabab.
The Pentagon is considering mulling a substantial reduction of the US forces in Africa, CNN cited several US defense sources as saying on Thursday.
The plan, which was submitted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, specifically stipulates drawing down US Special Operations Forces in Africa, which are tasked with tackling terrorist groups in more than ten African countries, including Somalia, Cameroon and Niger.
‘Cold War Mentality’: US Defense Strategy Includes False Judgments on China
US Africa Command believes that the planned reduction is in line with the Trump administration’s new defense strategy, which focuses on containing Russia and China “as opposed to counterterrorism missions”, according to the sources.
At the same time, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Sheryll Klinkel said that it is still unclear whether Secretary of Defense James Mattis will give the go-ahead to the plan.
“No decisions or changes have been made yet to the forces operating in Africa. The Department consistently reviews plans, operations and military investments across the globe to develop the best options that address the constantly evolving threat to US national interests,” Klinkel pointed out.