Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) ("Movement of Striving Youth"), more commonly known as al-Shabaab ("The Youth") is an Islamist insurgent group fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia. As of summer 2010 the group is said to control most of the southern and central parts of Somalia, including "a large swath" of the capital, Mogadishu, where it is said to have imposed its own "harsh" form of Sharia law. Estimates of al-Shabaab's strength, as of December 2008, vary between 3,000 to 7,000.
The group is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union, which splintered into several smaller groups after its removal from power by Ethiopian forces in 2006. The group describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam" and is engaged in combat against the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). It has reportedly "declared war on the U.N. and on Western non-governmental organizations" that distribute food aid in Somalia, killing 42 relief workers in the past two years of 2008 and 2009. It has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments and security services, and described as having "ties to Al Qaeda," which their leaders denied until early 2010. The current leader is named Moktar Ali Zubeyr .
Because of its opinions and methods, Al-Shabaab, has been compared with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.