The US has carried out an airstrike against forces of the radical group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. This is first airstrike of the US since President Joe Biden took charge in January. Al-Shabaab fighters in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia, 430 miles northeast of Mogadishu were targeted, said reports.
According to Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King, the battle-damage assessment was still pending as Somali forces continue to engage in a fight against al-Shabaab. However, it is said that no civilians were killed as a result of the airstrike.
The airstrike mainly targeted Al-Shabaab fighters in the city of Galkayo, which is in the central part of the country on Africa's east coast. A statement from Pentagon also added that Al-Shabaab fighters were linked to Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden. Al-Shabaab has repeatedly tried to overthrow Somalia's government in order to obtain political control. It aims at Taking control of Somalia and ruling it based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
Last time US carried out an airstrike was on January 19, when US Africa Command (AFRICOM) had declared that three Al-Shabaab extremists had been killed in two strikes conducted in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele under the command of then president Donald Trump.
Somalia Airstrikes â Trump VS Biden
On January 15, based on Trump's orders at least 700 troops withdrew from Somalia. Since the beginning of 2021, AFRICOM is said to have carried out six airstrikes [apart from the latest airstrike]. Reports claim that AFRICOM conducted 52 airstrikes in 2020, 63 in 2019, 47 in 2018, and 35 in 2017.
U.S. Africa Command known as AFRICOM responds to crises in order to advance U.S. national interests. The latest airstrike was in retaliation to Al-Shabaab's suicide bombing in Mogadishu on July 3. The terrorists' target was police commissioner Farhan Mohamud. The group set off an explosion after driving up next to a government convoy in a vehicle laden with explosives at a busy intersection. Mohamud survived the blast, but at least nine people were killed in the incident.
In fact, the day Biden took charge, he directed to limit the use of drones against Jihadist groups outside the US. But Donald Trump, when in office, had given a free hand to the defense to carry out airstrikes. As a result, when compared to 11 airstrikes on Somalia in 2015, under Trump's rule, in 2019 alone, 64 airstrikes were carried out on Somalia.
Spokesman John Kirby had stated in March that the Pentagon had submitted to the White House its plans to conduct airstrikes against jihadist groups outside Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.