Monday, June 24, 2024

Officials announce US troops will withdraw from Niger by mid-September

U.S. Troops to Leave Niger by September 15, Ending Counterterrorism Mission

U.S. troops to leave Niger by mid-September, ending counterterrorism efforts in Sahel region

All remaining U.S. troops based in Niger are set to leave the country by mid-September, according to U.S. officials and a joint statement from the two countries. The decision comes after several days of meetings between May 15-19, where both sides agreed on a withdrawal deadline of September 15. There are fewer than a thousand troops currently stationed in Niger.

The move marks a setback to U.S. efforts to combat terrorism in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, where groups affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda operate. Russian troops are also present in Niger at the invitation of the country’s military junta.

Despite the withdrawal of U.S. forces, Nigerian officials have expressed a willingness to maintain future cooperation with the United States. American diplomatic presence will remain in the country, and the Nigerian military is expected to take over the military infrastructure left behind by the departing troops.

Efforts are underway to remove as much American equipment as possible, with sensitive and hazardous equipment being a top priority for extraction. Discussions with nearby countries are ongoing to retain some of the departing U.S. military capability in the region, although no concrete plans have been confirmed yet.

The decision for U.S. troops to leave Niger came after a coup in July led to the removal of the democratically-elected president, prompting the Nigerian military to request the departure of both U.S. and French forces from the country.

The withdrawal of troops and equipment is expected to commence well before the September 15 deadline, with the U.S. asserting its commitment to a longer-term relationship with Niger despite the military pullout.

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