June 13, 2024

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The Pentagon ordered the withdrawal of all US combat troops from Niger

The Pentagon ordered the withdrawal of all US combat troops from Niger

This week, the US Department of Defense issued a formal order to withdraw all 1,000 US combat troops from Niger.

In April, the United States announced its intention to begin negotiations for an orderly and responsible withdrawal after Niger’s military junta withdrew from its military cooperation agreement with Washington. Hopes of a deal were dashed this week by the Defense Department’s withdrawal order, despite ongoing negotiations over the terms of the withdrawal and the possibility that some US troops would remain.

Troops will move to other locations in the region where they can still operate. | Technology. Sgt. Rose Gudeaux/US Air Force

The fate of American troops

Troops will be moved to other locations in the region from where they can continue to operate. Although the timeline is still subject to change and negotiations continue in Congress, the move marks the end of years of counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel region, in which Niger is a key component.

The US partnership with Niger was a counterweight to Russia’s growing influence in the region, but since last year’s coup, Russian forces, including former members of the Wagner Group, have begun to enter the country. While U.S. officials say Russian troops pose no immediate threat, there are concerns they could go rogue and antagonize U.S. forces.

A US delegation is currently in Niger to discuss withdrawal with the military junta. The talks, led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Bee, are underway with senior officials from the State Department, Defense Department and other relevant agencies, and have been described as “transparent and ongoing.”

You may also be interested: US warns of Russian troops taking over its military bases in Niger

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