US military targets Shabaab north of Kismayo

The US military killed two Shabaab fighters in an airstrike north of Kismayo, Somalia yesterday. The strike was the second against Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, that has been reported by US Africa Command in Somalia this month.

“Incoordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants approximately 46 kilometers northeast of Kismayo, Somalia, on August 21, killing two (2) terrorists,” AFRICOM noted in a press release. “We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.”

No senior Shabaab leaders or operatives were reported to have been killed in the strike.

AFRICOM noted that it would continue to target “terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.”

The US military has launched 20 strikes against Shabaab in 2018 and none against the Islamic State, Major Karl J. Wiest of AFRICOM Media Relations told FDD’s Long War Journal. The targets of those strikes included “al-Shabaab militants, fighting positions, infrastructure, and equipment.”

“U.S. forces in cooperation with the government of Somalia, are conducting ongoing counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia to degrade the groups’ ability to recruit, train, and plot terror attacks in Somalia and the region,” Wiest said.

The US military and CIA have been targeting Shabaab and its predecessor, the Islamic Courts Union, for more than a decade. While several senior al Qaeda, Shabaab, and Islamic Courts leaders and operatives have been killed in the campaign, it has not slowed Shabaab’s insurgency. Shabaab continues to control rural areas and small towns in southern and central Somalia despite military operations by the African Union and the Somali government.

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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