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US to ‘scale back military operations’ in Somalia

The Trump administration intends to curtail the air attacks in Somalia that have killed some of Al-Shabaab’s leaders, a US television network has reported.

“I would say we’re running out of targets,” NBC News said it was told by an unnamed senior US official.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not confirm the NBC News report.

“There have been no recent policy changes regarding US operations in Somalia,” Navy Commander Candice Tresch said in a statement.

“We continue to support the Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab.”

The US Africa Command has said its airstrikes have killed more than 150 Shabaab fighters in the past year, including a few of the group’s leading figures.

But the attacks appear to have had little impact on Shabaab’s 12-year-long armed campaign.

The group has shown it is still capable of carrying out bombings in the Somali capital that typically kill civilians as well as targeted adversaries.

Shabaab’s estimated 8,000 militants are also continuing to battle federal government troops and African Union forces in rural areas.

The US has about 500 ground-based personnel inside Somalia. The NBC Newsreport said it is unclear how many US soldiers would remain in the country under the shift in strategy that the network says is being planned.

A draw-down of troops from Somalia would be consistent with President Trump’s recent moves to reduce US military involvement in countries where Islamist insurgents are active.

By Daily nation 

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