Last weekend, a CIA officer was killed in Somalia. This news is according to a former senior administration official who is familiar with the matter.

The unnamed officer was said to have been wounded in operation in the country and later died, the source stated.

Killed agent

The former senior administration official was a former Navy SEAL and stated that the CIA agent's identity had not been made public.

The unnamed agent's death comes as President Trump's administration is making plans to withdraw more than 600 troops from Somalia in the future.

U.S. Special Operations forces have worked with the Somali National Army for years, assisting them in the fight against the militant group Al-Shabaab, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The team's main tasks are advising on airstrikes and ground assaults. They also train and build Somalia to help it create its own elite light infantry force.

The CIA has not released a comment on the death of the agent. The New York Times was the first to report the death of the CIA agent.

The CIA agent's death will lead to another star being placed on the Memorial Wall in the CIA headquarters' atrium as part of the agency's tradition.

The Memorial Wall pays tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in the CIA's line of duty. The CIA tweeted back in September that the wall now has 135 stars.

While the U.S. military advisers in Somalia usually let Somali forces take the lead during combats and operations, there have been instances wherein the U.S. forces found themselves in the middle of combat situations.

In September 2020, a U.S. service member was injured in Somalia when Al-Shabaab attacked the U.S. and Somali forces. And in August 2020, the U.S. military carried out an airstrike targeting Al-Shabaab fighters in Dar as Salam's vicinity after local U.S.-backed forces came under fire from a building.

A Pentagon Inspector General report released this year described the conflict in Somalia as being at a stalemate.

U.S.-backed Somali government forces are continuing to fight Al-Shabaab, with the insurgent group still trying to target Somali and other international forces in the country's southern provinces.

What is Al-Shabaab?

Al-Shabaab is estimated to command around 5,000 to 10,000 fighters, according to the Africa Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

As reported by the BBC, Al-Shabaab means "The Youth" in Arabic. It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts, which is now defunct. It controlled Mogadishu in 2006 before it was forced out by Ethiopian forces.

There are different reports of foreign jihadists from neighboring countries going to Somalia to help Al-Shabaab aside from the U.S. and Europe. Jihadists are labeled as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and the U.K. governments and are said to have between 7,000 to 9,000 members.

Al-Shabaab is enforcing the Wahhabi version of Islam, which is Saudi-inspired. Most Somalis are Sufis. The organization has also imposed a strict version of Sharia in many areas under its control. Sharia includes stoning women to death if found guilty of adultery and punishing thieves by amputating their hands.

The U.S. military advisers have been in Somalia since 2013. The country's military effort got a boost under the administration of President Donald Trump, which volunteered to undertake the Danab advisory mission in 2017.

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