Al-Shabaab Terror Attack at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya
Last year, Joe Biden announced US troops would be deployed to Kenya to help the terror-torn nation and aid in counter-terrorism efforts.
In September, the Army National Guard issued a press release announcing the deployment.
The African nation has become a target for terror organization Al-Shabaab.
In 2013, the terrorist group laid siege to Westgate Mall in Nairobi. During the four day stand-off between 16 members of the al-Shabaab Islamic terrorist group and Kenyan security forces, 67 civilians were killed.
CrisisGroup provides a comprehensive timeline of the increased terrorist attacks in East Africa over the last decade.
The Conversation explains why Kenya is a target.
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 Biden Administration has denied a tax break granted to troops deployed to a combat zone.
The IRS provides tax relief when US troops are in approved combat zone and earnings are excluded from taxable income.
The IRS has the following currently approved combat zones:
Arabian Peninsula Area
The New York Post reports:
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 Biden 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.”
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