Shabaab launches another attack on US and partner forces

On Sept. 21, al Qaeda’s Somalia branch attacked US and partner forces 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo, according to a US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) press release over the weekend.

In response, the United States conducted a defensive airstrike which killed 18 Shabaab fighters. Somali forces killed an additional two fighters in small arms fire.

A similar incident occurred less than a fortnight ago. On Sept. 11, Shabaab attacked US and partner forces in Mubaraak, a central village located approximately 37 miles west of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The attack killed one partner force member.

The United States has conducted a total of 23 strikes against Shabaab in Somalia in 2018, AFRICOM Media Relations Officer Rebecca Farmer confirmed to Long War Journal over email. “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,” she added.

The State Department’s most recent report on terrorism described Somali as a “terrorist safe haven.” The report explained that “…al-Shabaab experienced significant military pressure during 2017, but the group still maintained control over large portions of the country. Al-Shabaab retained the ability to carry out high-profile attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), suicide bombings, mortars, and small arms.” The report attributed a mass casualty attack in Mogadishu last October to the group.

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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  • Paddy Singh says:

    How long have the Yanks been fighting this rag tag bunch of terrorists? After all the US is the most powerful nation in the world, or supposed to be IT. How many Al Shabab have they killed? And yet the rag tag bunch control more than half of Somalia.

  • Ken says:

    I was in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia early in 1984 camped along the Shebbelle River as part of a U.N. reconnaissance team that I led to help refugees in that area among others in the country under the UNHCR. There was fighting back then. Somalia at that time was a hell hole for the most part and couldn’t get along with Ethiopia. There was also fighting in other parts of the country such as Eritrea and I was up there as well in 1983. Of course the U.S. was in Ethiopia prior to the communist’s take over when Mengistu Haile Miriam came to power. I used to see billboards with the pictures of Lenin, Marx and and one other communist whom I can’t recall. One Ethiopian told me, “See, one ear and three mouths.” The pictures on the billboard were so aligned that that is what one saw of the heads. Obviously a joke about the situation. I also saw Cuban mercenaries in Ethiopia in 1983. And I saw what they called Stalin’s organ, a rocket launcher with many tubes for launching. I was in Addis Abbab, Harrar, Jijiga, Asmara, Massawa, Kelafo, Mustahil and parts between. I remember in about 1976 talking to a student at the UW-Madison as he was from Nigeria and had fought in that war. So all this fighting in Africa and elsewhere isn’t new. It’s been going on for centuries not just decades. The Afghanistans fought the Russians for a decade. Now the U.S. is in there fighting. The French tried to colonize Vietnam since the 18th century doing a lot of fighting in the process and introducing the opium business to help generate revenue for France. And the U.S. stepped into that mess as well. The U.S. has got to realize that its involvement everywhere will not end fighting. The French military got involved in Vietnam as a way of forcing Vietnam to accept French domination of exploiting wealth that could be gained there. I have to assume that the U.S. fighting everywhere has something to do with protecting its revenue machines rather than establishing a lasting peace for no one would go after such a pie in the sky goal.


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