PRESIDENT Clinton has decided against pulling United States troops out of Somalia immediately and settled on a plan that will send 1,500 to 2,000 more soldiers there quickly, followed by a certain date for a full withdrawal, officials say.
Despite growing congressional calls for a faster pullout, Mr. Clinton will call for all US forces to be withdrawn by year's end or early next year, the officials said Wednesday.
The initial show of force would be an effort by Clinton to protect US troops in Somalia - once numbering 28,000 but now down to 4,700 - and to try to win the release of captured Americans.
Clinton was to spell out his decision yesterday, first in a morning meeting with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and then later in the day, most likely at a news conference.
The US-led effort to capture fugitive warlord Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed has become increasingly costly. In a failed raid Oct. 3-4, 12 US soldiers were killed, six remain missing, and one is being held by General Aideed's forces. A 13th US soldier died yesterday in a German hospital from wounds he incurred from the raid.
Also yesterday, a US soldier was killed and 12 others were injured in a Somali mortar attack at the Mogadishu airport.