US forces hit Shabaab outside Somali capital

On Wednesday, US forces conducted an airstrike 15 miles southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu against al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. The attack killed 10 Shabaab terrorists, according to a US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) press release yesterday.

The United States partners with both the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) to disable terrorist threats in Somalia.

AFRICOM has conducted a total of 14 assaults against Shabaab in 2018, AFRICOM Media Relations Officer Samantha Reho told FDD’s Long War Journal. Although the United States has hit the Islamic State’s Somali affiliate in the past, it has not done so this year. The United States is on track to meet or exceed last year’s record high of 35 strikes.

The pattern of US offensives demonstrates Shabaab’s geographic scope. In 2018, the US military has targeted Shabaab in El Burr in central Somalia and Caba near the border with Kenya. The two towns are more than 400 miles apart.

Shabaab has maintained a potent insurgency across Somalia for well over a decade. At times it has controlled the Somali capital of Mogadishu and other major cities such as Kismayo. Shabaab was ousted from the major cities during an African Union offensive that began in 2011. However, Shabaab has maintained control of its forces and retreated to rural outposts, where it still wreaks havoc from small towns and villages to this day.

Shabaab continues to advertise its status within al Qaeda. Since April the group has has released a series of propaganda videos that highlights its allegiance to al Qaeda and its commitment to global jihad.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal. Alexandra Gutowski is a military affairs analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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1 Comment

  • Andrew J Franklin says:

    Very smart to use the scope of targets of American airstrikes to demonstrate the continued effectiveness of Al Shabaab operating throughout Somalia!?! Makes a lot of sense…

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