US Conducts Record Number of Strikes in Somalia in 2019

AFRICOM says al-Shabaab remains a 'global menace'

Three US airstrikes against Somalia on Sunday have brought the number of attacks in that country in 2019 to 63, the most ever by US forces in Somalia, and a substantial increase from the 47 in 2018.

US African Command (AFRICOM) claimed four fighters were killed in the Sunday airstrikes, all from al-Shabaab. Officials reiterated that they consider al-Shabaab to be a “global menace” intent on attacking the US homeland.

There is no apparent evidence that al-Shabaab has the capability of attacking the US homeland, and the group seems heavily confined to Somalia and northern Kenya. 110 US airstrikes in the past two years, however, certainly would be a motivator for the group to find a way to strike back.

AFRICOM has generally insisted everyone they kill in Somalia is al-Shabaab, though several strikes have been followed by claims from locals that civilian bystanders were slain in US operations. The Somali government generally does not take complaints of civilian deaths seriously.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.