US says Somalia army not capable of containing Al-Shabab even as AMISOM plans complete troop withdrawal
A new report released by U.S. Defense Department, show that the Federal Government Forces are not yet able to battle against the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militants in the country’s south on their own. Despite some successes, the Somali National Army (SNA) remains vulnerable to Al-Shabaab outside the capital Mogadishu. SNA still is weak and is unable to secure all rural areas south of the capital, Mogadishu and little progress in joint Operation Badbaado has been noted in the recent months. The assessment comes ahead of a notable limited drawdown of both U.S. and African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) battling against the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants who still control swaths of southern Somalia. Despite increased drone campaigns aimed at degrading the militant networks capabilities by the American Forces, Al-Shabaab remains resilient and continues staging attacks targeting SNA and allied troops from across regions of Somalia. AMISOM plans to withdraw of 1,000 troops later this month, but this process has been delayed an effort of preparing SNA taking the country’s security. The 21,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and some 500 U.S. Special Operations Forces backed by air support have sought to continually weaken the militant network until local Somali Federal Government forces can hold the territory on their own and fill governance needs outside the capital. Though, U.S. is considering to withdraw at least 5,000 troops from Africa missions, AFRICOM Commander General Stephen Townsend highlighted to the U.S. Congress last month that he believes the U.S. can achieve its counter-extremist objectives in Africa if the current number of American forces is sustained.