WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say President Donald Trump has given the U.S. military greater authority to go after al-Qaida linked militants in Somalia.
The officials say Trump's decision approves a Pentagon request to allow more aggressive airstrikes in the African nation's southern region. It also allows American forces to increase assistance to the Somali National Army and other allies fighting al-Shabab.
Portions of southern Somalia, excluding the capital Mogadishu, will be considered a warzone. That gives U.S. special operations forces the authority to accompany partner troops closer to the fight and call in offensive airstrikes quicker.
The officials weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Associated Press first reported the request by Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of U.S. Africa Command, in February.