Leaving Niger

This week, the Pentagon issued commands for the removal of all 1,000 American combat forces from Niger, marking a significant setback for the U.S. administration’s strategies to combat terrorism and curb Russian expansion in West Africa.

In April, the U.S. started talks on a “careful and thoughtful exit” following the announcement by Niger’s military rulers that they would end their military partnership with the U.S. Nevertheless, negotiations with the military government are still underway regarding the terms of the exit and the possibility of retaining some U.S. forces in the country.

This possibility seemed less likely after the Defense Department instructed the U.S. troops stationed in Niger to prepare to exit within the coming months, a source familiar with the situation revealed under the condition of anonymity.

The source emphasized that the timeline for withdrawal might change as discussions with Congress continue.

The source noted that the troops are expected to relocate to other parts of the region where they can continue operations. This pullout, which can still be reversed until finalized, does not affect personnel assigned to embassy security.


A Disruption of Anti-Terror Initiatives

The departure disrupts longstanding anti-terrorism initiatives in the Sahel region. The drone base in Agadez, Niger, was crucial to these efforts until a coup last summer. Moreover, the partnership served as a countermeasure against the increasing Russian presence there. Since the coup, Russian military personnel, including ex-members of the Wagner group, have started to establish a presence at Niamey’s Base 101, where they have been living alongside American forces.