By Jamie Crawford
President Barack Obama has targeted the export of charcoal from war-torn Somalia, the sales of which help finance an al Qaeda-affiliated group, the State Department said Friday.
Through an amendment to an already existing executive order, Obama signed on to a resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council earlier this year that banned Somali exports of charcoal.
“The charcoal ban applies significant pressure on Al-Shabaab, which derives much of its income from charcoal exports,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a written statement. “The production of charcoal in Somalia has also had a devastating environmental impact that has exacerbated the country’s protracted humanitarian crisis.”
Al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist group that operates in southern Somalia, announced its affiliation with al Qaeda earlier this year and pledged its loyalty to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s leader.
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