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In 1992 the United States began operating in Somalia as part of a United Nations humanitarian mission. Operations of this nature attract little public interest. Midway through 1993 four U.S. servicemen were killed in Somalia and pundits became interested in why the United States cared about a failed African state ravished by civil war.

Shortly afterwards the United Nations was criticized for departing from its original humanitarian purpose to conduct military operations against Somalia’s most feared warlord, Mohammed Farrah Aidid.

Then, during the first week of October, the American people became interested in Somalia. Two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters, on a mission to capture Aidid, were shot down, and the dead bodies of American troops were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

The firefight that ensued became known as the “Battle of Mogadishu,” and it was, as of 1993, the bloodiest firefight involving U.S. troops since the Vietnam War.

One foreign newspaper stated, “Images of dead American troops being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu was the beginning of the end for U.S.-UN peacekeeping forces which quit operating in Somalia.”

In 1994 the Rwandan genocide took place.

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