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On May 4, one U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.
U.S. forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army.
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.