A United States service member was killed Thursday in Somalia during an operation against the extremist group al-Shabab; Gen. William 'Kip' Ward, then-Commander of the US Africa Command, is shown here with Sailors during the establishment of a US military harbor security force at the Port de Djibouti in August 2008
ABC News: Inside the US military's mission in Somalia
The death of a U.S. Navy SEAL in Somalia this week highlights the little-known mission that U.S. military advisers have been carrying out in that country: to advise the Somali military in its fight against the al Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab.
Since 2013 a small number of American troops have worked with military forces from the new Somali government to fight al-Shabaab, the extremist group that once ruled Somalia.
As part of their advise and assist mission, American special operations forces accompany Somali troops in raids against al-Shabaab. But they are not directly engaged in combat unless they find themselves in a self-defense situation.
Here is a closer look at the role American troops are playing in Somalia.
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WNU Editor: I am willing to bet that this U.S. presence in Somalia is going to grow in the coming year.