First American soldier killed in Somalia since Black Hawk Down disaster

Two others were injured and are receiving care, the Department of Defense says

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The Independent US

The first American soldier since Black Hawk Down has been killed in Somalia.

The soldier was killed in action during an advising mission with Somali National Army Forces, and two others were injured, the Department of Defense confirmed to the Independent.  It is the first US service member death since 1993 when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down on a one hour long mission, forcing the American military to stage a rescue operation that lasted through the night and resulted in 18 American deaths.

The Department of Defense declined to disclose which branch of the military the soldier was in, since the next of kin had not yet been notified, but they are believed to a US Navy SEAL. Two soldiers who were injured are currently receiving medical care.

The incident occurred during an operation roughly 40 miles west of Mogadishu, according to US Africa Command. The US assists partner forces there to counter the efforts of al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate in the region.

Al-Shabaab is known a terror organisation and has been known for attempts to inspire attacks against the United States and its western allies. American forces assist Somali allies in order to “degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America,” according to the release

The failures in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu — more commonly known as Black Hawk Down — had sweeping impacts on American foreign policy that endure today. The deaths of a dozen and a half soldiers, and the broadcast of brutal footage of American corpses being desecrated stateside, ultimately led the US to pull troops out of the country, leaving a vacuum and safe haven for extremist groups to grow.

Withdrawing from Somalia also allowed Osama bin Laden to start the narrative that the US isn’t used to hardship so if extremists inflict pain on American troops, they will withdraw from that area. His message hoped to encourage extremists who may have otherwise been deterred by America’s military power.