The Virginia and Kentucky National Guard are deploying 1,000 troops to the horn of Africa amid a continuing shift in U.S. war efforts away from the Middle East.
The U.S. has been increasingly operating in countries like Somalia and Niger as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have drawn down
President Joe Biden in Sept. declared that the U.S. “for the first time in 20 years” is “not at war” in a speech to the United Nations. But in a June letter to Congress the Biden administration listed 10 regions and countries including several on the African continent in which troops are still engaged in combat operations against various militant groups.
About a month before that speech, an American drone targeted al-Shabab fighters who were engaged with friendly Somali troops. It is unclear how many militants and/or civilians were killed.
The mission comes at one of the busiest times in the Guard’s history with non-stop domestic activations as the force juggles its overseas missions. As of Monday, there are nearly 27,480 guardsmen overseas, including in the Middle East and Europe, according to data from the National Guard Bureau. In the U.S. 11,480 are activated in support of pandemic-related missions and more than 340 troops are supporting wildfire response efforts in California and Colorado.
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