Somalia. US increases military support for Somalia against al-Shabab | India News

MOGADISHU: The United States is increasing its military assistance to Somalia as the country sees success in battling what the United States calls “the largest and deadliest al-Qaeda network in the world.”
Sixty-one tonnes of arms and ammunition arrived in Mogadishu on Tuesday, the United States said in a statement supporting a historic Somalia-led military offensive against al-Shabab extremists that recaptured dozens of communities since August.
In a separate joint statement with other top security partners Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Britain, the United States said it would support Somalia’s efforts to manage the weapons and ammunition that could allow the United Nations Security Council to lift its arms embargo on the country.
“A very productive meeting,” Somali National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh-Ali tweeted after the Washington meeting.
The President of the Somali Government Hassan Sheikh Mohamud last year declared “total war” on thousands of al-Shabab extremists who, for more than a decade, controlled parts of the country and carried out devastating attacks while exploiting clan divisions and extorting millions of dollars a year in their quest to impose an Islamic State.
The current offensive was sparked in part by local communities and militias pushed to the brink by al-Shabab’s harsh tax policies amid the country’s worst drought on record. The Somali government was quick to provide support. Today, neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti agreed on a joint ‘search and destroy’ military campaign.
Somalia is recovering from decades of conflict and the federal government is eager to shed the country’s history as a failed state and attract investment. Under the current president, the government is cracking down on al-Shabab’s financial network and encouraging religious authorities to reject the extremist group’s propaganda – even enlisting a former deputy al-Shabab leader as Somali’s current religious affairs minister.
The United States has about 450 military personnel in Somalia after President Joe Biden reversed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces. The United States is supporting Somali forces and a multinational African Union force with drone strikes, intelligence, and training.
The increased support for the Somalia-led offensive comes as the AU force is set to withdraw from the country and hand over security responsibilities to Somalia by the end of 2024.


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