Foreigners from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Afghan-trained Somalis, play an important role in the group's leadership ranks owing to their combat experience.
Bringing with them specialized skills, these commanders often lead the indoctrination of new recruits, and provide training in remote-controlled roadside bombings, suicide attack techniques, and the assassination and kidnapping of government officials, journalists, humanitarian and civil society workers.
advised that "a significant number of UK residents" were training with al-Shabaab.
Linking this increased involvement with a reduction in Al Qaida activity in Pakistan's tribal areas, he also suggested that since Somalia, like Afghanistan, at the time had no effective central government, the presence of foreign fighters there could inspire terrorist incidents in the UK.
With it he likely hoped to reclaim and extend his authority, and to encourage foreign fighters to stay.
This move will further complicate the cooperation with the "national legion" of al-Shabaab.
In August 2011, Godane was heavily criticized by Al-Shabaab co-founder Hassan Dahir Aweys and others for not letting aid into the hunger stricken parts of southern Somalia.
Although not formally announced, Shabaab was effectively split up into a "foreign legion," led by Godane, and a coalition of factions forming a "national legion" under Aweys.it is now described as an extremist splinter group of the ICU.Since the ICU's downfall, however, the distinction between the youth movement and the so-called successor organization to the ICU, the PRM, appears to have been blurred.Al-Shabaab has been designated as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.The group has also been suspected of having links with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram.Although al-Shabaab's leadership ultimately falls upon al-Qaeda leader Ameer Ragheb, the internal leadership is not fully clear, and with foreign fighters trickling out of the country, its structure is increasingly decentralized.