US Africa Command said Saturday that it conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia on November 3 as US operations in the country continue to escalate.
AFRICOM said that the strike killed at least 15 al-Shabbab fighters and that it was carried out near Cadale, a coastal town in the southern Middle Shabelle region of Somalia.
AFRICOM claimed that the strike was carried out in “collective self-defense” in support of the US-backed Mogadishu-based government, which has stepped up its operations against al-Shabaab in recent months.
Under President Biden’s drone strike policy, strikes outside of Syria and Iraq need White House approval unless they are said to be in self-defense of US or partner forces. Strikes could also be justified if they target a person on a kill list that’s approved by the president.
The Somali government wants the US to loosen that policy so Washington can carry out more strikes against al-Shabaab, and the US is reportedly considering escalating the war in Somalia even further.
US airstrikes in the country initially declined under President Biden, but they have been increasing since President Biden ordered the deployment of up to 500 troops to Somalia in May.
AFRICOM claimed that no civilians have been killed in the recent strikes, but the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties, especially in Somalia.