This week, the U.S. conducted its first airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia since the Biden administration assumed power. This was followed closely by a second strike that took place on Friday. The strikes come at a time when the focus of the U.S. military and our NATO allies is moving away from counter-terrorism and towards near-peer competition with Russia and China. This is good news for global terrorism leaders who continue to pop up in new areas and grow their organizations at an alarming rate.

Both al-Qaeda and ISIS remain active in Syria and Iraq where the United States is considering drawing down its counter-terrorism forces. Idlib in Syria is a hub of al-Qaeda terrorists. Simultaneously, ISIS, despite American and Iraqi pressure, continues to attack the population.

Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, and ISIS

The initial reason for getting into Afghanistan was to stop the flow of terrorism. Nevertheless, after 20 years, trillions of dollars spent, thousands of lives lost and forever damaged terrorism in Afghanistan is still alive and well despite proclamations to the contrary.

The flawed nation-building strategy that followed the West’s counter-terrorism strategy only prolonged and increased the level of violence.