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U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Damian Donahue and U.S. Army Maj. Chris Wendt look out from a tower in Somalia. Photo: Kristin Savage/U.S. Air Force

The Pentagon said Friday it would be pulling most U.S. troops out of Somalia by early 2021, per President Trump's orders.

Why it matters: Although some of the 700 American troops in Somalia will be "repositioned" to neighboring countries, the announcement is the latest in Trump's efforts to draw down the U.S. military presence in what he has described as "endless wars."

  • Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced last month that the U.S. would draw down its troop levels in both Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by Jan. 15, 2021.

What they're saying: "The U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa," the Pentagon said in a statement.

  • "We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach."
  • "While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition."
  • Without specifying, the Pentagon said some forces may be reassigned outside East Africa, but the remaining troops would repositioned to neighboring countries "to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia."
  • "The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicators regarding threats to the homeland."
  • Somali officials did not immediately comment on Trump's orders.

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2020 - World

Top U.S. general Mark Milley meets with Taliban for peace talks

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Taliban negotiators in Qatar on Tuesday and flew to Afghanistan on Wednesday to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to urge a reduction in violence, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the second time that Milley, the U.S. military's top general, has met face-to-face with negotiators from the militant group that ruled Afghanistan in the early stages of America's longest war. Milley previously met with Taliban negotiators in Qatar in June, a meeting that was not reported until today.

Updated 14 mins ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

The latest: Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters later on Saturday, "I decided to fight back as long as I can."

1 hour ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.