Members of the Libyan pro-government forces, aim a weapon during their deployment in the Lamluda/ area, southwest of the city of Derna / Reuters
NEW YORK, April 8 (MENA) - The United States military evacuated its small contingent of troops from the Libyan capital on Sunday as rival militias raced to stop the forces of an aspiring strongman, Gen. Khalifa Hafter, from taking control of the city, The New York Times reported.
Forces under the command of General Hafter made a surprise advance on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, on Thursday, setting up a battle with a coalition of armed factions from the region around the city — the grand prize in a chaotic eight-year fight for control after the ouster of Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Tripoli is the northern African country’s financial hub, receiving the income from sales of Libyan oil, housing the central bank and paying the salaries of soldiers and other public employees across the country.
The United States military’s Africa Command said in a statement that its mission in Libya had included providing support to diplomatic efforts, as well as “counter terrorism activities.”
“The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser of the Marine Corps, the head of United States Africa Command, said in the statement. “Even with an adjustment of the force, we will continue to remain agile in support of existing US strategy.”