The US launched an airstrike in Somalia on August 14, the second bombing within a week, signaling that the Biden administration is escalating the US war against al-Shabaab.
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced the airstrike on Wednesday and claimed it killed 13 al-Shabaab fighters. The command said the strike was launched against al-Shabaab members that were attacking Somali government forces in a remote location near Teedaan, Somalia.
AFRICOM said its “initial assessment” found that “no civilians were injured or killed,” but the Pentagon is known for severely undercounting civilian casualties in Somalia.
The last US airstrike AFRICOM announced in Somalia took place on August 9, and before that was July 17. The escalation comes after President Biden ordered up to 500 troops to be sent to the East African nation, reversing a Trump-era drawdown.
The Trump administration’s drawdown from Somalia repositioned troops in neighboring Djibouti and Kenya, allowing the drone war to continue. But Biden has launched significantly fewer strikes in Somalia compared to his predecessor.
In 2020, AFRICOM announced 52 airstrikes in Somalia. Under the Biden administration, the command has announced it bombed Somalia nine times, although the CIA could also be conducting strikes in the country, which are shrouded in even more secrecy than AFRICOM operations and don’t get reported.