Pentagon orders withdrawal of all US combat troops from Niger


Niger’s new leaders demanded the withdrawal of American and French troops after they ousted Western-backed president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023.

They announced on March 17 that Niger had canceled a 2012 military cooperation agreement with the US, calling for an end to the US military’s “illegal” presence in the country, reports AFP.

The Pentagon this week formally ordered all 1,000 US combat troops to withdraw from Niger, Politico reported yesterday.

The order comes as newly-arrived Russian forces have been living at the same airbase as American troops in the capital of Niamey, Base 101, for weeks.

According to a US official, troops will be relocated to another base within the region from which they can still carry out their military operations.

Until the country’s military overthrew the pro-Western government in a coup last summer, a US-built drone base near Agadez in central Niger had been a linchpin for Washington’s military operations in the Sahel region.

Bazoum, and the previous Nigerien governments before him, had given the US military the green light to operate in the country, train Nigerien forces, and take part in what the Americans described as counter-terrorism activities.

However, the new leaders reject the “illegal” presence of US troops on Niger’s territory, saying “it was not democratically approved and imposes unfavorable conditions on Niger, particularly in terms of lack of transparency on military activities.”

Niger also called for the exit of French troops from the country and canceled two security and defense partnerships with the EU last year.

Instead, the West African country signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen defense cooperation with Russia last December.

Niger has also signed a trilateral defense agreement with neighboring Burkina Faso, and Mali, binding the three Sahel countries to assist one another in the event of a military attack on any one of them.

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