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US to pull out troops from Niger after France: Report

The flags of the United States and Niger fly side by side at the base camp for military personnel supporting the construction of Niger Air Base 201 in 2018. (Photo by AP)

After clinching a deal with Niger’s ruling junta, the United States will pull out its military personnel from the West African country in the coming months, according to a report.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, Reuters reported on Saturday that the pullout would take place after US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell reached an agreement with Niger’s junta, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

The source maintained that there would still be diplomatic and economic relationships between the US and Niger despite the move.

The United States has told Niger that will withdraw 1,000 American personnel from the African country in the coming months, a New York Times reporter also
posted on X. 

Back in July last year, a successful military coup unseated the government in Niger and Tchiani, the then commander of the Presidential Guard, assumed power as the leader of the country before establishing the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP).

CBS News, citing an unnamed US State Department official as saying on Friday, also reported that during a meeting earlier in the day, Campbell and Nigerian Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine “committed today to initiate conversations in Niamey to begin planning an orderly and responsible withdrawal of US troops from Niger.”

As of last year, a little more than 1,000 US troops were present in Niger, where the US military ran two bases, including a major drone base called Air Base 201 built in the vicinity of the central city of Agadez, some 550 miles from the capital Niamey, at a cost of more than $100 million.

Former president Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted in the coup, and his previous governments, had allowed the US military presence to train Nigerien forces and take part in what was described as counter-terrorism activities.

Last month, Niger’s junta said that it revoked a military accord with the US that allowed military personnel and civilian staff from the Pentagon on its soil.

The withdrawal of American troops from Niger will follow the pullout of troops from France, the former colonial power that for the past decade has led the so-called foreign counter-terrorism efforts against Takfiri groups in West Africa.

Last week, hundreds of people took to the streets of Niamey to demand the departure of American troops, after the junta further gravitated to Russia, welcoming Russian military instructors.

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