Al-Shabaab Terror Attack at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya
The African nation has become a target for terror organization Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab’s current – though shrunken – stronghold is in southern Somalia. The geographic proximity of southern Somalia to targets in Kenya makes it easier to plan and launch terrorist attacks. The terror group has attacked not only Nairobi, but Mandera and Garissa in the north-east, as well as Kenya’s tourist-filled coastline. In contrast, potential targets such as Addis Ababa, Djibouti or Kampala are geographically distant and logistically difficult to reach.
Kenya is also one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most important states and East Africa’s hub. Its international visibility and status lead Al-Shabaab to make conscious decisions and efforts to attack it. Attacking targets in Kenya, particularly in Nairobi or on the coast, guarantees Al-Shabaab a level of international coverage that a similar attack in Ethiopia, for example, would not.
Despite the gravity and danger of this deployment for combat soldiers in operation Task Force Wolfhound, the Brandon Administration has denied a tax break granted to troops deployed to a combat zone.
The IRS has the following currently approved combat zones:
- Sinai Peninsula
- Afghanistan Area
- Kosovo Area
- Arabian Peninsula Area
Combat soldiers from New York’s famous “Fighting 69th” Infantry are getting taxed while deployed in Kenya, The Post has learned, because the terror-ravaged African nation is not considered a combat zone by the Brandon administration.
Military personnel are exempt from paying federal income taxes — and any New York state or local income taxes — during the time they serve in designated combat zones.
Members of the Army’s 69th Regiment were recently deployed to Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya.
Somalia — which borders Kenya — and Djibouti are designated combat zones and soldiers are exempt from taxation while serving there. But Kenya is not considered a combat zone, despite the al-Qaeda-allied Al Shabaab terror group waging attacks against Americans there, government records show.
Al-Shabab militants launched a predawn on Jan. 5, 2020, on an airstrip used by the US and Kenyan militaries, located on Kenya’s coast near its border with Somalia, killing one US service member and two American private contractors.
Tax return software firm Intuit Turbo Tax said the tax break “translates to a significant tax saving for the active service member in combat and his family back home.”
Former Staten Island congressman Max Rose, a combat veteran who served in the 69th Infantry, called it outrageous that the soldiers in Kenya get taxed while risking their lives in Kenya.
“As a former member of this unit, I sincerely hope that every one of the 69th soldiers serving in harm’s way receives the tax benefits they deserve and are entitled to,” Rose said.
“We can’t let policy jargon get in the way of doing the right thing.”