Troops to be Withdrawn from Niger by U.S. Military

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TL/DR –

Over 1,000 American military personnel will withdraw from Niger, following disagreements between the U.S. and Niger over security policy, Niger’s turn toward Russia for security, and failure to map out a path to democracy. Niger revoked its military cooperation deal with the U.S., following a recent trend in the Sahel region of breaking ties with Western countries. The U.S. attempted to salvage a revised military cooperation deal with Niger, but failed amid growing resentment towards the U.S. presence and increasing cooperation between Niger and Russia.


Biden Administration Announces US Troop Withdrawal from Niger

Over 1,000 US military personnel will be leaving Niger, disclosed Biden administration officials, altering US counterterrorism strategy in Africa’s Sahel region. This decision follows Niger’s pivot towards Russia for security and Iran for potential uranium deals, and its military government’s failure to establish a democratic transition path.

The move was expected after Niger revoked its military cooperation with the US after contentious talks in Niamey, Niger’s capital, with an American diplomatic and military delegation.

Moreover, increasing anti-US sentiment led to mass protests in Niamey demanding the withdrawal of US troops, shortly after Russia delivered military equipment and instructors to Niger.

US officials say planning for an “orderly and responsible withdrawal” will commence soon and will take months to complete. Many US troops stationed at U.S. Air Base 201 have been inactive since last July’s military coup.

Following the coup, the US suspended security operations and aid to Niger. Nevertheless, US officials hoped to maintain partnerships with the nation, but the recent arrival of Russian military instructors made cooperation unlikely.

In Niamey, demonstrators waved Russian flags and those of Burkina Faso and Mali, where military-led governments have also sought Russian help against insurgent groups.

The US Ambassador to Niger, Kathleen FitzGibbon, and other officials have tried for months to prevent a formal break in relations with Niger’s junta.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is exploring alternatives, including establishing new drone bases with several coastal West African countries, if negotiations fail. Despite this, officials acknowledge that replacing Niger’s strategic location and partnership will be challenging.

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