US military launches drone strike against al-Shabab fighters in Somalia

The USA Proceed Unmanned aircraft Strike al-Shabab militia in Somalia on Tuesday, the first military action against al-Qaida branch in East Africa since the Biden administration took office in January.

The strike was carried out by military aircraft against al-Shabab militants who were attacking members of the Danab, an elite US-trained Somali commando force, near the town of Galkayo in the north of the country. , said Pentagon spokesperson, Cindi King.

The Biden administration has set new limits on attack drones outside the active war zones when it took office on January 20, to give it time to develop a lasting policy. The Trump administration sets broad rules for strikes in specific countries and gives field commanders authority over when to take them, but strike proposals are now generally routed through the House. White.

The White House has since denied several requests from Africa Command to carry out drone strikes against al-Shabab targets in Somalia because they failed to respond. new standards. But in this case, King said, White House approval is not needed because Africa Command has the authority to conduct attacks in support of allied forces in what the military calls self-defence. group.

By order of the former President Donald TrumpMost of the 700 US troops stationed in Somalia to advise and support Somali military and counterterrorism forces were withdrawn during the waning weeks of his administration, and sent to Kenya and nearby Djibouti. there.

King said the Danab commandos were mentored remotely by an American trainer when they were attacked.

“No US forces accompanied Somali forces in this operation,” King said in an email. “US forces are on a remote support and advisory mission in support of designated Somali partner forces.”

Galkayo is a divided city that lies on a fault line between two major clans and it lies on the main smuggling route used by militants traveling between al-Shabab’s heartland in southern Somalia and northern Somalia. country. The city has been the focus of efforts to contain al-Shabab by Danab and other Somali government forces.

King said fighting between al-Shabab and Somali forces is delaying Africa Command’s assessment of the airstrike, the seventh this year against the militants, but the first since the 19th. January, one day before the President. Joe Bideninauguration.

The attack comes as the Biden administration is considering whether to reverse the US withdrawal from Somalia that took place under Trump.

A US official said an interagency review, which has been going on for several months, has not yet been completed. But under one option under consideration, a smaller number of US troops would be redeployed to military bases in southern Somalia, near the border with Kenya, where al-Shabab influence is strong. best.

The option of continuing US military operations from bases in northern Kenya – often referred to as “above the horizon” – has become less attractive in recent months since a dispute over the horizon. A diplomatic row between Somalia and Kenya severed air links between the two countries for several weeks.

Somalis and Kenyans are at odds over a number of issues, including ownership of a triangle of oil-rich waters in the Indian Ocean. In May, diplomats from Qatar mediated between the two countries and appeared to have reached an agreement.

But soon relations soured again and Somalia suspended all flights from Kenya, including those involving US military aircraft stationed at the Gulf of Manda, north of Kenya, where deployed to carry out counter-terrorism missions.

Air traffic has since resumed. But the US official said US military aircraft had also been denied permission to fly into Somalia during the standoff – a roadblock to convincing military planners that they cannot rely entirely on bases there. Kenya for operations in Somalia. | US military launches drone strike against al-Shabab fighters in Somalia


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