21:17 GMT14 May 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Africa Command has started what will likely be a months-long process of moving its headquarters from the German city of Stuttgart to another location, AFRICOM Commander Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement on Friday.

    "US Africa Command has been told to plan to move," Townsend said. "While it will likely take several months to develop options, consider locations, and come to a decision, the command has started the process."

    Defence Secretary Mark Esper announced earlier this week that the Pentagon would withdraw nearly 12,000 military personnel from Germany and base them in new locations.

    AFRICOM will first study options for a new headquarters elsewhere in Europe, but will also weigh the possibility of being based in the United States, the statement said.

    "Potential options will be assessed to ensure appropriate positioning of forces to deal with future challenges," it added.

    AFRICOM will continue supporting African countries despite its relocation, Townsend added.

    "It is important our African partners understand our commitment to them remains strong," he said. "US Africa Command will continue to work with our African and other partners to address mutual interests."

    Under the Pentagon's relocation plan, more than 6,000 soldiers will be sent home from Germany, while others will be relocated elsewhere in Europe, including Italy and Belgium. The move will reduce the number of US troops stationed in Germany from some 36,000 to 24,000. Washington also decided to relocate its European Command headquarters from Germany to the Belgian city of Mons.

    US Africa Command (AFRICOM), army, US, Germany
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