Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.