The US has decided to shut down their drone base in southern Ethiopia, which was reportedly being used to target Islamic extremists in Somalia. In an email to The Associate Press, US Embassy Spokesman in Ethiopia, David Kennedy confirmed his government's decision regarding the facilities in Arba Minch, south of Addis Ababa, claiming that they are no longer necessary.
While the US did not publicly confirm the set up of the drone base, local media reported its creation in 2011. Ethiopia has been working with the US in East Africa to fight against the Islamic extremist rebel group, al-Shabab in Somalia.
While this particular base is being shut down, the Pentagon is currently in discussions to set up various other military bases across Africa, south-west Asia and the Middle East in the hopes of strengthening their presence in the area to better tackle the Islamic State (Isis) and the various militant groups in support of it.
Senior military officials told the White House that the aim of the network of bases would be to serve as hubs for special operations troops and intelligence operatives. These forces will work on counter-terrorism missions and increase American military presence in various volatile areas.
The proposal for the new basing system, presented to the White House by General Martin E Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not intended to be a specific Pentagon proposal to combat the affiliates of the Isis (Daesh). Administration officials mentioned that is was more of a re-examination of the military's position when dealing with terrorism issues.
Referring to these plans late last year, Defense Secretary Ashton B Carter said, "Because we cannot predict the future, these regional nodes — from Morón, Spain, to Jalalabad, Afghanistan — will provide forward presence to respond to a range of crises, terrorist and other kinds. These will enable unilateral crisis response, counterterror operations, or strikes on high-value targets."