On the Front Line in Kismayo

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A member of the Somali National Army walks across the runway at Kismayo International Airport on the outskirts of the port city of Kismayo in southern Somalia. This fall, Kismayo was liberated from the terrorist group al-Shabab by members of the Kenya Defense Forces, the Somali National Army, and local militias all operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). But as James Verini writes in his dispatch for Foreign Policy, liberation doesn't meant that the Islamic terrorist insurgency has been defeated.



A member of the Kenya Defense Forces stands guard on the road leading from Kismayo International Airport to the city. Kismayo remains largely peaceful almost two months after the city was liberated.


A member of Ras Kamboni, a local militia, accompanies an AMISOM convoy from Kismayo International Airport to Kismayo. While attacks by al-Shabab on AMISOM troops have been decreasing in Somalia, the terrorist group has turned to planting IEDs and using other insurgency tactics. 


A boy working at Kismayo seaport sits in the front seat of a truck being loaded with cargo. Two decades of civil war have left Somalia's infrastructure and economy in tatters, though in recent months both have been slowly improving.


Members of the business community in Kismayo attend a meeting held at the seaport to discuss the current business climate in the city under its new leaders and the challenges that lie ahead.


The exportation of charcoal, which constitutes Kismayo's largest industry, continues to be a contentious issue for local business owners who deny that any of the profits from these exports go to al-Shabab. Taxes and extortion of the charcoal trade was once thought to contribute as much as $50 million a year to the terrorist group al-Shabab.


Businessmen gather to discuss the future of the city's charcoal industry, which is currently the subject of U.N. sanctions.


A member of Ras Kamboni sits guard over the business meeting at the seaport.


A victim of a recent grenade attack in Kismayo recovers in the region's only hospital. A spate of recent attacks in the city has overwhelmed Kismayo General Hospital with victims from IED explosions. As a result, the hospital has had to limit its intake of patients suffering from other ailments.


Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, head of the city's interim administration, speaks to journalists at Kismayo International Airport about the current security situation in the city.


A cage, crudely constructed by al-Shabab to hold women captive, lies abandoned in a room formerly used as a prison cell in Kismayo International Airport.

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