The US training Mission projected to be likely completed by 2026 in a move that shows that the construction could take longer than previously anticipated. However, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has maintained that it is making progress on the ground by helping training Somali special forces known as Danab to combat the al-Shabaab threat.
The training given to the Somali troops has been yielding results seeing as the ground troops have been inflicting notable losses and damage on al Shabaab networks in the county. Last week alone, at least two locations storing al Shabaab’s arsenal of weapons and explosive devices were seized by government officers.
The development follows as President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending a presidential declaration of a national emergency concerning Somalia for another year. The Pentagon has about 500 to 600 personnel in Somalia according to US Africa Command.
Increased involvement by the US has in the recent past put pressure on al Shabaab evidenced by increasing defections and arrests of the militants who have been the pressure from both ground assaults by SNA and allied AMISOM troops as well as US airstrikes. Trump authorized the military to carry out precision strikes targeting al-Shabaab in March 2017. Prior to that, the US military was authorized to conduct airstrikes only in defense of advisers on the ground.