The United States is again targeting fighters with the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab terror group in Somalia, launching its second airstrike in the past four days following a nearly six-month hiatus that began when President Joe Biden took office.
The strike, by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), appears to be part of an effort to lend U.S. airpower to what has been described as a fierce struggle on the ground between the Somali military and al-Shabab in Galmudug state, the same region targeted in Tuesday’s airstrike.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told VOA and other reporters traveling aboard a U.S. military aircraft with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Friday’s strike was carried out in support of Somali forces near the village of Qeycad. He said the strike was permitted by the powers granted by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.
Kirby added that just as with the earlier airstrike, U.S. troops were not on the ground with Somali forces but were conducting a remote advise-and-assist mission. Further information was not provided because of “operational security.”