Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A group of Somalian troops trained by the U.S. military stand at attention at a graduation ceremony. (Photo: U.S. Africa Command)

U.S.-trained Somali troops stand at attention during a graduation ceremony. (Photo: U.S. Africa Command)

Pentagon Says Almost All US Troops to Leave Somalia—But Military Operations Will Continue

"This action is not a change in U.S. policy," said the Defense Department, which has been conducting an air and ground war in the East African nation since 2007.

Brett Wilkins

In a widely anticipated move, President Donald Trump has ordered almost all 700 U.S. troops deployed to Somalia withdrawn from the East African nation by early next year, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Friday afternoon. 

According to the Pentagon, "this action is not a change in U.S. policy."

Military action will continue, it said, in service of defeating militant extremists and ensuring a U.S. "strategic advantage in great power competition." 

Somalia has suffered from U.S. drone and other airstrikes, as well as ground raids by mostly Special Forces troops, since 2007, when former President George W. Bush expanded the so-called War on Terror to include the war-ravaged nation.

Both the air and ground operations have killed civilians. In July, Amnesty International said the U.S. has "carried out at least 189 air strikes in Somalia since 2017," and that "in just nine of those airstrikes… 21 civilians were killed and 11 others were injured."

Earlier this year, The Intercept reported that the U.K.-based monitor group Airwars has counted at least 71 and as many as 139 Somali civilians killed by U.S. strikes since 2007.

These deaths rarely make headlines in the U.S. corporate media. It was, however, widely reported in the mainstream media that a CIA officer and former Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia late last month during a raid targeting a suspected bombmaker for the al-Shabaab militant group. 

The Pentagon's announcement of the Somalia withdrawal came two days after Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the debate about how many U.S. troops to keep in the country was still ongoing.

Friday's announcement also came eight days after acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to U.S. troops stationed in Somalia. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Trump Turns to SCOTUS Over Mar-a-Lago Docs, But 'It Won't Stop DOJ'

"This is a very specific and narrow request by Trump the merits of which turn on a technical jurisdictional question, but which runs into fatal procedural obstacles long before that," said one analyst. "It's not laughable, but only because it's small."

Jessica Corbett ·


Despite Calls for Diplomacy to End War, US Confirms More Weapons Headed to Ukraine

"Are there still negotiation possibilities?" asked Noam Chomsky. "There's only one way to find out. That's to try. If you refuse to try, of course, there's no option, no possibilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut 'Foundational' Digital Rights Law

"Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


Report Reveals How Utilities' Climate Pledges Amount to 'Textbook Greenwashing'

Despite the passage of nearly $370 billion in renewable energy funding, the nation's utilities are squandering "a massive opportunity for clean electricity and electrification."

Julia Conley ·


$158,000 Cost for ALS Treatment Called 'A Poster Child' for Unjust Drug Pricing

"The price of the newly approved drug combination Relyvrio to treat ALS," said one critic, "is yet another clear and powerful example of unjustified high prices set by drug companies that ultimately exploit patients."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo