The U.S. military has launched an airstrike against Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab terrorists on Tuesday, the first since President Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon says.
Pentagon Spokeswoman, Cindi King says the U.S. military command for Africa (Africom), in coordination with the Somali government, “conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia against al-Shabaab.
King explained that the strike which is about 700 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu, targeted Al-Shabaab extremists.
“A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces, although the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this strike,” she added.
The strike is the first conducted by the U.S. military in Somalia since January 19, when Africom announced it had killed three Shabaab terrorists in two strikes in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele.
As soon as Biden was inaugurated as the President of the United States, he limited the use of drones against terrorist groups outside U.S. theatres of war.
This has reversed the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, who gave the U.S. military carte blanche in countries such as Somalia and Libya.
In March, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby had said planned strikes against terrorist groups outside Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq were now submitted to the White House before being executed.
Drone strikes multiplied during Trump’s term, going from 11 in Somalia in 2015, to 64 in 2019 and 54 in 2020, according to the non-governmental group Airwars, which monitors civilian deaths in bombings around the world.
Just before he left office, Trump ordered the withdrawal of some 700 special forces soldiers who were deployed in Somalia to train and advise the Somali army.