The Address | Benghazi – Libya
WASHINGTON – The U.S. military will withdraw hundreds of troops focused on counter-terrorism operations in Africa over the next several years to support the Pentagon’s increased focus on countering threats from China and Russia, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Currently, about 7,200 US military personnel are based in dozens of African nations, with notable footprints in countries such as Somalia, Nigeria and Libya.
Pentagon spokeswoman, Commander Candice Tresch, said the cuts would leave “counter-violent extremist organization” activities largely untouched in several countries, including Somalia, Djibouti and Libya.
In other parts of the region, including West Africa, the emphasis would shift from “tactical assistance to advising, assisting, liaising and sharing intelligence.”
In the spring of 2016, the United States conducted airstrikes in support of forces affiliated with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord in order to reclaim the city of Sirte from ISIS.
In September 2017, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced that 495 precision airstrikes were carried out and 800 to 900 ISIS fighters were killed during the operation in Sirte between 1 August and 19 December 2016.