Small Wars Journal

After Deadly Raid, Pentagon Weighs Withdrawing Almost All Commandos From Niger

After Deadly Raid, Pentagon Weighs Withdrawing Almost All Commandos From Niger by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt – New York Times

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of a deadly October ambush against a Green Beret team that killed four United States soldiers.

Three Defense Department officials said the plans, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, would also close military outposts in Tunisia, Cameroon, Libya and Kenya, as well as seven of the eight American elite counterterrorism units operating in Africa.

The shift in forces is part of the Pentagon’s defense strategy to focus on threats from China and Russia. But they represent a more severe cut of Special Operations forces in Africa than initially expected, leaving a lasting, robust military presence primarily in Somalia and Nigeria.

The proposal does not say that any additional troops would return to Africa even as Special Operations units gradually draw down. Officials said that could reverse progress that has been made against Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates, while diminishing alliances across Africa as both Russia and China move to increase their influence…

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