US defense chief visits Somalia

Acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller

Acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller waits for the arrival of Minister of National Defence of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis November 13, 2020 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. 

Photo credit: Alex Wong | Getty Images | AFP


US Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller visited Somalia Friday as Washington mulls a pullback from the Horn of Africa country, the Pentagon said Friday.

Miller "celebrated Thanksgiving with US military personnel and contractors at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti and in Mogadishu, Somalia," The Pentagon said in a statement.

While in both countries, Miller "reaffirmed US resolve in seeing the degradation of violent extremist organizations that threaten US interests, partners, and allies in the region," it said.

He also stressed "the importance of the international community's continuing efforts on this front."

The visit came after the reported death last week of a CIA officer in Somalia, where some 700 US troops are based to train Somali forces and launch attacks on the Al-Shabaab militant group.

The US Defense Department is considering cutting its presence in Somalia as part of an effort by the Trump administration to step back from years-old conflicts and reposition US forces for primary rivals like China.

But Al-Shabaab remains a potent threat in Somalia and the region, according to a report released Wednesday by the US Defense Department's Inspector General.

The group "remains adaptive, resilient, and capable of attacking Western and partner interests in Somalia and East Africa," it said.


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