On July 23, the US military carried out an airstrike in Somalia, targeting al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militants. It was the second airstrike carried out by the US military in Somalia under the presidency of Joe Biden.
According to Pentagon spokeswoman Cindy King, the Military Command for Africa (Africom) carried out a drone strike in the vicinity of the town of Qeycad, 500 km northeast of Mogadishu. She also stressed that there were no US forces on the ground, alongside the Somali army, the spokeswoman stressed. No other details were provided.
On July 20, Africom had struck al-Shabaab near Galkayo, 700 km northeast of Mogadishu.
The US air strikes are carried out in support to Somalia national forces, who are also taking measures against al-Shabaab.
On July 21, Somalia National Army and Galmudug regional forces have killed over 70 militants and destroyed 13 Shabaab bases in a week, as offensive operations to flush out the terrorists in northern Mudug region intensify.
The US has increased the number of drone strikes in Somalia in recent years. According to the specialized organization Airwars, the number changed from 11 bombings in 2015 to 64 in 2019 and 54 in 2020.
As soon as he arrived at the White House, Joe Biden had limited the use of drones against jihadist groups outside the regions where the United States is officially engaged. Just before leaving his office, the former US president Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of some 700 special forces soldiers who were deployed in Somalia to train and advise the Somali army.
At the same time, the Pentagon spokeswoman stressed that the U.S. military was authorized to conduct strikes in support of U.S. partner commands in accordance with the 2001 law that authorizes the use of force against terrorist groups. Last month, the House of Representatives approved legislation to repeal a law of 2002 to allow the United States to go to war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but officials claimed the 2001 law was not reversed.
When asked if the recent strike was authorized by the White House, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby claimed:
The strike that you’re talking about, Sylvie, was ordered by General Townsend under his existing authorities to act in the defense of our Somali partners, who were under attack by Al-Shabaab. He had the authorities to do this. He ordered this on his own. You know, he ordered this under his own authority to do so, and he didn’t need to ask permission to conduct that strike.
MORE ONT HE TOPIC:
- First Somalia Airstrikes Of Biden Presidency As Congress Still Questioning Syria Strikes
- Somalia Agenda Changing The Africa Horn Region