U.S. Military Orders Total Withdrawal From Niger

The Pentagon has formally ordered the total withdrawal of 1,000 US combat soldiers from Niger, impacting counterterrorism efforts and Russian influence in West Africa, amid ongoing discussions with Nigerien authorities.

U.S. Military Orders Total Withdrawal From Niger 1

This week, the Pentagon formally ordered the withdrawal of all 1,000 US combat soldiers from Niger, a blow to the Biden administration’s efforts to battle terrorism and Russian influence in West Africa.

After Niger’s military junta claimed it would annul its military cooperation agreement with Washington, the United States announced in April that it would begin negotiating plans for “an orderly and responsible withdrawal”. However, US officials have continued to talk with the junta over the terms of the pullout and the likelihood of some American troops remaining.

As the Defense Department ordered the approximately 1,000 American troops stationed in Niger to withdraw over the next few months, hopes for a deal dwindled this week, according to a U.S. official who spoke anonymously in advance of an announcement.

The official noted that legislative deliberations are ongoing and the timeframe could change.

According to the official, troops will relocate to other areas in the region where they can continue to conduct operations. The drawdown excludes embassy security staff and can yet be undone until it is finished.

GreatGameIndia earlier reported on this development when Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the Nigerien junta, announced in a statement that Niger would cut off US military ties. This action occurred amidst rising concerns about a uranium deal with Iran.

The move upends years of counterterrorism operations in the Sahel. A key component of that approach had been Niger, specifically, the drone base the United States built at Agadez until the country’s military ousted the government in a coup last summer.

The alliance between the United States and Niger served as a safeguard against Russia’s expanding sway over the area. The Russian military, including ex-members of the Wagner group, have started to enter the nation since the coup. For weeks, American forces and Russian fighters have shared Base 101, the city of Niamey, an air base. The Russian fighters number between sixty and one hundred.

Although American authorities claim that there is no immediate threat from Russian forces, they are concerned that the fighters might become hostile and do actions intended to enrage American soldiers.

While in Niger, a U.S. mission is speaking with the junta regarding the withdrawal. According to a State Department spokesperson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee is having “ongoing frank discussions with the CNSP authorities in Niger” with senior officials from the Department of State, Department of Defense, U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. Embassy in Niger, and other organizations.

“We do not want to speculate and get ahead of the discussions. “

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