US plans major drawdown of special forces in Somalia, Africa

United States Marine Corps personnel from the 2nd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who are in Australia as part of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin, press forward on a patrol during Exercise Hamel in Cultana training area, South Australia, on 1 July 2016. (Australian Defence Force photo by Cpl. Dan Pinhorn)

As many as half of the US counter-terrorism troops based on the continent could be withdrawn over the next three years, the report states.

The contemplated reduction political follows furore over killing of four US soldiers last October during a counter-insurgency operation in Niger.

The United States is considering a sharp reduction in its special forces operations in Somalia and other African countries, the New York Times reported on Monday.

As many as half of the US counter-terrorism troops based on the continent could be withdrawn over the next three years, the report states.

About 6,000 American soldiers are currently assigned to several African countries, according to the US Africa Command (Africom).

Some 500 of those commandos, trainers and logistics specialists are based in Somalia, where they assist African Union and Somali national forces in carrying out attacks on Al-Shabaab.

US military action in Somalia mainly consists of drone strikes that are said to have killed dozens of Shabaab militants in the past year.

But some US troops operate on the ground in an advisory capacity, and a steep reduction in their numbers could have negative consequences for the 11-year-long war against Al-Shabaab.