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US wants troops out of Niger

US wants troops out of Niger

As of: April 20, 2024 8:29 am

After France, the United States also wants to withdraw from Niger. A US delegation is due to travel to the capital, Niamey, in the next few days to organize the formal return of more than 1,000 soldiers.

The United States has agreed to withdraw more than 1,000 soldiers from Niger, according to government officials. US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell accepted the troop withdrawal request during a meeting with Nigerian Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zine in Washington, US government officials told the AFP news agency. Reuters news agency also reported on the planned withdrawal, citing a person familiar with the matter.

American representatives must arrange for an orderly withdrawal

Accordingly, there should be an agreement that a US delegation should travel to the capital Niamey in the next few days to arrange for a formal withdrawal. Nigerian state television had earlier reported that the US delegation would arrive next week.

For the United States and former colonial power France, Niger was an important launching point for operations against the jihadists. The U.S. military operates two bases in Niger — including one for drones built at a cost of more than $100 million. In December, the last French soldiers left the country at the request of the new rulers.

Increased focus on Russia

On July 26, the military ousted Niger's democratically elected president, Mohamed Basoum. The new rulers aligned themselves with juntas in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso. They ended military pacts with former Western allies such as Washington and Paris, left the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and sought closer ties with Russia.

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Until the coup, Niger was considered one of the last allies in the region in the fight against jihadists and extremism. Eight coups in West and Central Africa in four years, including in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, have raised concerns about democratic decline in the region.

Kai Küstner, ARD Rabat, tagesschau, April 20, 2024 at 1:05 pm