While the loss of towns and territory may have a severe effect on the ability of al-Shabaab to collect revenue and organise training centres of its fighters the group has nevertheless managed to preserve much of its already battle-hardened forces - not withstanding the defection of some possibly second-tier units. Still, despite the loss of Kismayo and other major centres the groups still maintains control over large areas of southern Somalia and continues to pose a threat inside urban centres as recent attacks in Mogadishu clearly demonstrated.
Following the success of capturing Kismayo the task of securing and governing the city will now pose new challenges to the Somali government and AMISOM. These challenges have already been covered in a series of excellent papers and articles that should provide any reader with an excellent introduction to the complexities of governing post-Shabaab Kismayo.
- Al-Shabaab, Jubbaland, and the Future of Kismayo by Tres Thomas
- Kismayo Hasn’t Fallen Yet; Even If It Had, It Wouldn’t Be the End of the Shabab by M. Mubarak
- After the Kenyan Intervention in Somalia by Ken Menkhaus (Enough Project, January 2012)
- The Kenyan Military Intervention in Somalia International Crisis Group (Africa Report N°184, 15 February 2012)