This week, the President’s Assistant for Homeland Security Dr Liz Sherwood-Randall, USAFRICOM Commander General Stephen Townsend and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Chris Maier, visited Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Niger.
The trip focused on advancing the Biden administration’s counterterrorism policy in a changing threat landscape: prioritizing the most dangerous and bottom-up threats; empower local partners to prevent and counter terrorist threats within their own borders; and working multilaterally with regional and international allies and partners to pursue our broader security, governance and development goals across the region. In each country visited, the delegation had the opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of AFRICOM military personnel.
In East Africa, Dr Sherwood-Randall, General Townsend and Mr Maier met with US forces in Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, who are tasked with executing the counterterrorism campaign against al-Shabaab in collaboration with local and regional partners. They also met with officials from the United States Embassy. Throughout their visit, they discussed the adaptation of our counterterrorism enterprise in the region to strengthen the detection of emerging threats and improve coordination with local partners and the African Union Mission in Somalia. (AMISOM). In Djibouti, the delegation also met with the special operations forces responsible for American crisis response capabilities on the African continent.
In West Africa, the delegation visited Niger, the main hub of American and European efforts to fight terrorism in the Sahel region. They visited US air bases in Agadez and Niamey where US forces are working with Nigerien partners to disrupt security threats and support hostage recovery efforts. In Niamey, they met with Nigerien President Bazoum to discuss opportunities to strengthen security cooperation to counter the growing influence of terrorist groups in the Sahel. They also met with officials from the US Embassy and French Ambassador to Niger Alexandre Garcia and Force Commander Barkhane, Major General Laurent Michon, to strengthen US-French counterterrorism cooperation in the region.