DJIBOUTI (SD) – The commander of US African Command (AFRICOM), Gen. Stephen Townsend commended the Ethiopian forces for resisting last week’s Al-Shabaab attack.
“It appears that the Ethiopians have largely contained and defeated this incursion,” General Stephen Townsend, the outgoing commander of U.S. Africa Command, said Thursday during a call with the Washington-based Defense Writers Group.
Stephen Townsend added that Al-Shabaab was able to enter 150 km into Ethiopian territory, which he said shows the strength of the militants.
“It’s only been less than a year ago that al-Shabab emir [Ahmed] Diriye called for an increased emphasis on external attacks and increased emphasis on attacking Western targets in the Horn of Africa,” Townsend said. “This is a response.”
The AFRICOM Commander noted that Al-Shabaab gained strength during the 15 months that US troops were absent from Somalia, and are now more brazen in their attacks.
“Al-Shabab got bigger, bolder, stronger,” Townsend said. “So now we’ve got to blunt the initiative that they’ve [al-Shabab] enjoyed for 15 months or more. “We’ve already seen an uptick in Somali security forces operations,” he added.
The former U.S. President Donald Trump, ordered the withdrawal of the 700 hundred U.S. troops from Somalia, However, current President Biden revoked that decision, ordering the troops to return to Somalia.
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