A US Military Force is Preparing To Withdraw From a Troubled African Nation

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U.S. troops are being removed from Niger by the Biden administration, but no timeline has been announced.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, a U.S. defense official confirmed the removal process had begun, indicating that talks between the U.S. and Niger related to the “orderly removal” of troops had kicked off.

“We can confirm the beginning of discussions between the U.S. and Niger for the orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country,” the official said.

According to the Fox News report, neither the official nor the U.S. Africa Command provided a timeline for troop removal.

The official did not provide a timeline for when troops would be removed from the West African country, but noted that individuals from the Pentagon and the U.S. Africa Command would be engaged in the conversations related to the removal process.

“The DoD is providing a small delegation from the Pentagon and U.S. Africa Command to participate in the discussions. In terms of departure timing, we do not want to speculate and get ahead of the planning discussions,” the official said.

The planned departure, which some experts view as a blow to Washington and its allies in the region in terms of staging security operations in the Sahel, comes as U.S. officials said they were trying to find a new military agreement.

Niger plays a central role in the U.S. military’s operations in Africa’s Sahel region, an area on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Washington is concerned about the spread of jihadi violence, where local groups have pledged allegiance to al-Qaida and the Islamic State groups.

Agadez, about 550 miles from the capital Niamey, is home to one of Africa’s largest U.S. air bases. During its operation, the air base has been used for manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other operations. In addition, the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars training the Niger military ever since 2013.

However relations have frayed between Niger and Western countries since mutinous soldiers ousted the country’s democratically elected president in July. Niger’s junta has since told French forces to leave and turned instead to Russia for security. Earlier this month, Russian military trainers arrived to reinforce the country’s air defenses and with Russian equipment to train Nigeriens to use.

There was an attempt on the behalf of the U.S. to revise the military agreement with Niger that would allow them to stay, U.S. officials told The Associated Press. However, the agreement between Ali Lamine Zeine, Niger’s prime minister, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell shows that the effort has failed.

The loss of access to air bases in Niger is a major setback for the U.S. and its allies in the region because of its strategic location for security operations in the Sahel, Peter Pham, the former U.S. special envoy for the Sahel region, said, according to The Associated Press.


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