Saturday, July 13, 2024

Pentagon announces US troops’ withdrawal from Niger will be finalized by mid-September, according to WGN Radio 720

Supporters of Niger’s Ruling Junta Protest Against Foreign Interference

The Pentagon and Nigerien defense officials have announced that U.S. troops ordered out of Niger by the ruling junta will complete their withdrawal by mid-September. This decision comes after four days of talks between the defense officials of both countries in Niamey.

Niger’s move to expel American forces has had significant implications for U.S. military operations in the Sahel region, where groups affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State are active. The expulsion followed the ousting of Niger’s democratically elected president last July by mutinous soldiers, leading to the ruling junta seeking assistance from the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

In response to the military takeover, the U.S. officially designated it as a coup in October, which triggered restrictions on military support and aid to Niger. Currently, around 1,000 U.S. troops remain in Niger, primarily stationed at an airbase near Agadez, far from the capital city.

Previously, Niger was considered a crucial partner by the U.S., with significant investments in the Agadez base, which played a vital role in counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel. Additionally, the U.S. has provided extensive training to Niger’s military since 2013.

As part of the withdrawal plan, the Pentagon will relocate most of the approximately 100 forces stationed in neighboring Chad. However, discussions are set to resume next month regarding revisions to the agreement that permits U.S. troops to be based in Chad. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing situation.

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