The shadowy U.S. air war against al Shabab militants in Somalia has set back the al Qaeda-aligned terrorist group but will not alone defeat it, the American general who heads U.S. Africa Command told Congress Thursday.
Since April 2017, the United States has conducted a methodical campaign of attrition, picking off groups of al Shabab fighters with drone strikes whenever they present a target of opportunity.
In 2018, U.S. Africa Command assessed that it killed 323 al Shabab members in almost 50 airstrikes. Just five weeks into 2019, AFRICOM says 118 militants have been killed in a dozen strikes.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, outgoing U.S. Africa commander Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said the goal of the strikes is to help the fledgling government of Somalia gain control of its country.