U.S. Says It's Been Operating Secretly in Somalia Since 2007
The United States revealed it has maintained a secret military presence in Somalia over the past several years. According to U.S. officials, the troops have been active there since the middle of George W. Bush's second term. From Phil Stewart at Reuters:
The deployments, consisting of up to 120 troops on the ground, go beyond the Pentagon's January announcement that it had sent a handful of advisors in October. That was seen at the time as the first assignment of U.S. troops to Somalia since 1993 when two U.S. helicopters were shot down and 18 American troops killed in the "Black Hawk Down" disaster.
This news comes as the United States works to build closer ties with the war-ravaged country, the government of which the Obama administration formally recognized last year.
Just last month, the United States appointed its first envoy to Somalia since the early 1990s. It was seen as a sign of growing confidence in the government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, which has battled the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabab in recent years with, as we're learning now, the help of American troops.
Earlier this week, we noted that both China and Italy were reopening their embassies after hiatuses of more than 20 years.