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After travel ban, Trump pulls troops from Africa to counter China and Russia, deploys military advisers and trainers to Africa Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 25, 2021

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it was pulling out troops from Africa to counter China and Russia, and deploying some military advisers and trainers to train and advise African forces.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said in a statement that the deployment was to better compete with China and Russia.

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Farah said the deployment of the Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) “allows the Army to return elements of an infantry brigade from the 101st Airborne Division back to its home base of Ft. Campbell, KY, allowing it to train and prepare for high intensity conflict operations”.

The move comes after the Trump administration also announced that it was barring citizens from at least four African countries from immigrating to the United States, including Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, or from applying for certain types of visas.

It also comes after the administration announced that it will no longer support French forces to fight against terrorism in Africa.

”The Secretary of Defense has been conducting a comprehensive review of DoD forces, programs and activities within each Combatant Command to ensure alignment with the National Defense Strategy’s priorities. U.S. Africa Command was the first to present their findings and recommendations.  As part of this review and in order to better compete with China and Russia in Africa, the Secretary is directing the deployment of elements of the Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) to the continent to conduct train, advise, and assist missions in spotlight African countries. This is the first of many decisions regarding AFRICOM’s mission,” Farah said.

“Army SFABs are manned, trained and equipped specifically for the train, advise and assist mission. This allows them to perform this important ”great power competition” role more effectively and more efficiently than conventional units. In addition to meeting combatant command requirements on the continent, the deployment of the SFAB will help improve Army readiness by reducing the demand for brigade combat teams to conduct security force assistance operations there.

“The deployment of the SFAB allows the Army to return elements of an infantry brigade from the 101st Airborne Division back to its home base of Ft. Campbell, KY, allowing it to train and prepare for high intensity conflict operations. Deployment of the 1st SFAB and return of 101st Airborne Division personnel will commence in the coming weeks. This realignment and rightsizing of mission requirements demonstrates the Department’s commitment to implementing the National Defense Strategy and our continuing commitment to our African partners.”

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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