The campaign by insurgents to topple the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, or TFG, has now lapped over that troubled nation's borders, threatening its neighbors and the entire region.
Following a series of abductions of Westerners by armed bandits, some of whom may have links to al-Shabaab, military forces from Kenya have taken the offensive to defend their country by entering Somalia to strike al-Shabaab forces there. The Kenyan operation increases the pressure on al-Shabaab forces in Somalia, who are also fighting Somali militias, and African Union and TFG forces in Mogadishu.
Kenya has borne a significant share of the security and humanitarian burden of the unrest, drought and famine in Somalia. The country hosts the largest refugee camp in the region at Dadaab, offering refuge to more than half a million men, women and children. Pressure on Kenya grew in the last month as it witnessed a series of attacks and abductions of its citizens, tourists and aid workers.
The United States has worked closely with the government of Kenya to help monitor and control its borders, as well as to strengthen its capacity to counter terrorism and participate in peacekeeping operations. The U.S., however, did not encourage the Kenyan government to act nor did Kenya seek our views. We remain, however, a strong supporter of the fight against al-Shabaab and efforts by the TFG and international community to bring long-overdue peace and prosperity to the Somali people.