President Joe Biden on Monday signed an order to deploy U.S. troops to Somalia amid heightened concerns about the country’s Islamic extremist rebels, known as al-Shabab.
The move is a reversal of President Donald Trump’s late-term decision to remove nearly all 700 Special Operator forces that had been operating there. Biden’s decision, confirmed by a senior administration official, comes after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had requested the deployment.
Austin had said it was needed “to reestablish a persistent U.S. military presence in Somalia to enable a more effective fight against al-Shabaab, which has increased in strength and poses a heightened threat.”
The announcement comes as Somalia elected a new president over the weekend — Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Mohamud returns to power after serving as president from 2012-17.