Somailia currently houses the largest U.S military presence since 1993, after American troops were pulled out following the “Black Hawk Down” battle. The hundreds of Special Operations American troops in Somalia are working with African allies to combat Islamist militants, like Shabab, who have grown increasingly more prevalent and violent. In January they killed over 100 Kenyan soldiers, stealing their trucks and weapons after the massacre. In 2013, they killed over 60 people and wounded more than 175 in an attack on a mall in Nairobi. Their tactics are growing more fierce, and in February they attempted to bomb a plane with an explosive-laden laptop computer American and African officials involved in the military expansion describe it as being designed to avoid repeating the events of 1993, which led 18 deaths of American soldiers.
With the ground raids and drone strikes that are so prevalent in this campaign, it feels as though disaster is imminent. The strikes have already killed an estimated 25 civilians, and 200 who are suspected of being militants. One of the deadliest American airstrikes in history, killing more than 150 Shabab fighters, was carried out as part of this campaign in March. But last month, over a dozen Somali government soldiers, American allies against the terrorist group, were also killed by an American airstrike. Shabab’s tactics are horrific and growing more frequent and intense, but is it the responsibility of the United States to combat them? The poverty-stricken and anarchic nation of Somalia certainly cannot do it alone. American troops face immense risk being in the country, but Somalians and many East Africans face an equally great risk by simply living in an area under constant threat of death from the ever-growing terrorist organization.