US Troops to Leave Niger by Mid-September, Pentagon Says

All U.S. military troops and assets will be out of the African nation Niger by the middle of September, according to a weekend announcement the Pentagon made.

The news was released on Sunday, following multiple days of conversations with the military junta in the country to finalize such a timeline.

Last year, a group of military leaders successfully executed a coup in the country. They formed a military junta government and have since aligned themselves geopolitically with Russia.

For several weeks now, the U.S. has been in discussions with this government’s leaders. But, it wasn’t until those talks were finalized on Sunday — following “high-intensity negotiations” that lasted four days — that everything was put in place for the withdrawal.

The U.S. currently has roughly 1,000 military troops stationed in Niger. They are tasked with handling counterterrorism operations against groups that are affiliated with al Qaeda and ISIS.

The Pentagon said that the plan for the withdrawal is to have much of the military equipment airlifted out of Niger in advance of September. Everything should be removed from the country by the middle of that month.

The Nigerian military will be the beneficiary of some other military infrastructure and items that are simply too big for the U.S. to transport out.

Ali Lamine Zeine, the prime minister of Niger, last week spoke to The Washington Post and said:

“The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns. It is not a sign of friendship to come on our soil but let the terrorists attack us.”

Before Niger even began negotiations with America over a withdrawal agreement, the country’s government ordered France to withdraw all its troops.

This exodus from Niger is another major setback for America in what’s called the African Sahel region. In just the last few years, multiple government coups have happened there, which has led to Russia benefitting immensely.

There has been a major increase in threats from insurgent groups linked to ISIS and al Qaeda in other countries that are ruled by military governments. This includes Mali, which forced France to remove its military forces from the country in 2022.

In the time since, terrorist groups have nearly doubled how much territory they control in that country.

While this withdrawal has been finalized, the Pentagon said it’s still in talks to withdraw the 100 U.S. military troops who are stationed in Chad, which neighbors Niger.

Next month, the two countries are expected to hold new negotiations on potentially revising an agreement that would allow American troops to remain in Chad.

Military withdrawals have not gone well under the Biden administration. The most infamous one, of course, was the disaster withdrawal from Afghanistan. That incident led to Taliban quickly retaking control of the country, after the Afghan National Security Forces collapsed and the capital city of Kabul fell in August of 2021.