Joseph Kony

General favors more aggressive approach in Somalia

Vowing he won't turn Somalia into a "free fire zone," the commander of U.S. Africa Command said Friday he wants greater authority to conduct airstrikes and use military forces in the African country to allow the U.S. to strike al-Qaida-linked militants more quickly.

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said the White House hasn't yet approved the request. But he told reporters at the Pentagon the greater flexibility would help U.S. and Somali fighters combat al-Shabab extremists.

Last month, The Associated Press reported that senior defense leaders recommended the expanded authorities to the White House. The proposed changes would allow U.S. special operations forces to...