US Deploys Military Advisers to Somalia for First Time in 20 Years

For the first time since U.S. troops were pulled out of Somalia following the “Black Hawk Down” incident in 1993, the U.S. military has quietly sent “a small number of trainers and advisers..to the war-ravaged country,” The Washington Post reports. 

According to the newspaper, a group of U.S. military personnel has been in the Somali capital of Mogadishu since October, with orders to “advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia.”

Army Col. Thomas Davis, a spokesman for the Africa Command, confirmed the deployment on Friday, saying the military cell “is now fully operational.”

A U.S. presence has not been absent from the country by any means, as the “CIA has quietly operated a base in Somalia for years and finances Somali security forces, but largely keeps its activities there under wraps,” the Washington Post notes. And the U.S. has conducted numerous drone strikes in the country in the last decade.

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However, the move to place active military personnel there marks a new shift in the U.S.’s approach in the region, The Washington Post reports:

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