U.S. to Withdraw 1,000 Troops from Niger

The United States informed the Western African nation of Niger that it would begin to withdraw up to 1,000 military personnel in the next couple of months.

A State Department official, Kurt Campbell, met with Niger’s Prime Minister, Ali Lamine Zeine, who agreed upon the plans of withdrawal. 

This move further overturns the United States’ counterterrorism efforts in the nation and the larger region of Sahel, as the abandoned base provided a significant military advantage over extremist groups. Largely, this comes as a result of the anti-U.S. sentiment both within the Niger military junta and after protests from citizens.

The $100 million U.S. Air Base 201 in Agadez was primarily used to target and reconnaissance extremist Salafi jihadist militants of both ISIL and Al-Qaeda forces of the Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) that have plagued and destabilized the Sahel region.

The U.S. says it is exploring other locations in West Africa to station drones following the plans to leave.

Mali, Burkina Faso, and now Niger have all had subsequent military coup d’états followed by the withdrawal of stationed Western militaries. All three have then also pivoted towards receiving military aid and support from Russia. Moscow confirmed that military trainers, air defense systems, and other equipment were sent to Niger earlier this month.