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US Agrees To Complete Troop Withdrawal From Niger  By September 15

The US is expected to complete the withdrawal of nearly 1,000 American troops from Niger by September 15.

Niger and the United States have reached an agreement for the withdrawal of nearly 1,000 American troops from the West African nation, with the process already underway and expected to be completed by September 15, according to a joint statement released by both countries.

This development follows the directive from Niger’s ruling junta last month, instructing the U.S. to remove its military personnel. Niger had been a key partner for the U.S. in combating insurgents in the Sahel region, who have caused significant loss of life and displacement.

The agreement, concluded after a five-day meeting between Niger’s defense ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense, ensures the protection of U.S. troops until their withdrawal. It also sets out procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of American personnel during this period.

“The Ministry of Defence of Niger and the U.S. Department of Defense recall the common sacrifices of the Nigerien and American forces in the fight against terrorism and welcome the mutual efforts made in building up the Nigerien armed forces,” the joint statement read. “The withdrawal of American forces from Niger in no way affects the pursuit of relations between the United States and Niger in the area of development. Also, Niger and the United States are committed to an ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations.”

A senior U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that approximately 100 U.S. troops have already been relocated from Niger. The U.S. plans to remove sensitive equipment but will leave behind larger items such as air conditioning units, generators, and hangars, which Nigerien forces may use if it complies with legal standards.

The official added that it appears the Nigerien junta does not intend to replace U.S. forces with Russian troops or the Wagner private military company. “I think we tend to believe what they’ve told us, at least the CNSP, which is they’re not looking for any foreign forces in large numbers here,” the official said, using an acronym for Niger’s ruling military council.

Niger’s decision to request the U.S. troop withdrawal followed a mid-March meeting in Niamey where senior U.S. officials expressed concerns about potential Russian military presence and Iran’s interest in raw materials, including uranium. Since then, Russian military personnel have been reported entering a Nigerien air base that was hosting U.S. troops.

Despite the military withdrawal, both nations emphasised the continuation of their diplomatic and developmental relations, seeking to maintain a cooperative partnership in various non-military areas.

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