US Military says ‘The Threat of Al-Shabaab Has Increased’

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The United States military said the threat of Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia has increased over the past 12 months since hundreds of American troops were repositioned from the Horn of Africa nation in January last year.

In an interview with VOA, AFRICOM commander general Stephen Townsend said even after pulling out most of approximately 800 American troops from Somalia, they still “have the same tasks to do there” to fight Al-Shabaab, which is a “threat to the United States and the American people by their own aspiration”.

He continued to add that the threat of Al-Shabaab is growing due to “inactivity from AMISOM” and power fight and, political friction between Somalia’s political stakeholders.

“If increased pressure is not applied to Al-Shabaab, I’m concerned that there’s going to be a significant Al-Shabaab attack. We’ve seen just suicide bombs going off in Mogadishu over the last two weeks to include one fairly large vehicle-borne IED, so I think they’re expanding and they’re growing,” Townsend said.

AFRICOM commander stressed that the US military is still training Danab Somali Special Forces, the work “has slowed a bit” over the past months. It comes months after US diplomats said support to the elite force would be reviewed due to its participation in clashes with a former ally in the central region of Galgadud, in which a number of its commanders were killed.

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