The United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” a top military official said yesterday as a Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.
A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years, helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities. “The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” said Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command. “Even with an adjustment of the force, we will continue to remain agile in support of existing U.S. strategy.”
He did not provide details on the number of U.S. troops that have been withdrawn or how many remain in the country.
Footage circulating online showed two apparent U.S. Navy transport craft maneuvering off a beach in Janzour, east of Tripoli, sending up plumes of spray as American forces were ferried from the shore. India also evacuated a small contingent of peacekeepers. The Indian foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, said the country’s 15 Central Reserve Police Force peacekeepers were evacuated at the weekend from Tripoli because the “situation in Libya has suddenly worsened” and fighting has moved into the capital city.