This week, Assistant to the President 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 traveled to Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, and Niger.
The trip focused on advancing the Biden Administration’s counterterrorism policy in an evolving threat landscape: prioritizing the most dangerous and ascendant threats; empowering 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 they 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 U.S. forces in Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya who are responsible for executing the counterterrorism campaign against al-Shabaab in conjunction with local and regional partners. They also met with U.S. Embassy officials. Throughout their visit they discussed the adaptation of our counterterrorism enterprise in the region to bolster the detection of emerging threats and enhance coordination with local partners and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In Djibouti, the delegation also met with Special Operations Forces responsible for U.S. crisis response capabilities on the African continent.
In West Africa, the delegation travelled to Niger, the primary hub for U.S. and European counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region. They visited U.S. air bases in Agadez and Niamey where American forces work 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 U.S. Embassy officials and with French Ambassador to Niger Alexandre Garcia and Barkhane Force Commander Major General Laurent Michon to enhance U.S.-French counterterrorism cooperation in the region.