Pentagon Announces U.S. Troops Will Withdraw from Niger

( – The Pentagon announced that all U.S. military assets will be withdrawn from Niger over the next few months following days of talks with the Nigerien military to finalize a timeline for the pull-out.

After extensive deliberation with the military junta government of Niger, the Pentagon announced on Sunday, May 19th, that the U.S. military would withdraw from the region. According to the finalized timeline, the U.S. will have until mid-September to pull all assets out of the African nation.

Around 1,000 American troops are currently stationed in Niger and have been conducting counter-terrorism operations on groups in the country that are affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Ali Mahaman Lamine, the current prime minister installed after Mohamed Bazoum was ousted in the coup, accused the Americans staying on his country’s soil of doing “nothing” to stop terrorists from killing people and burning down towns. He told reporters it wasn’t “a sign of friendship” to come to Niger and then “let the terrorists attack” his country.

The military junta took control of the African nation in a coup last year and aligned with Russia geopolitically. In mid-March, the military junta revoked its military accord with the U.S. and restricted the Pentagon to operate from only two bases. In April, the Kremlin reportedly sent military trainers and agreed to help Niger install a sophisticated air-defense system.

Discussions went on for weeks about U.S. troops and assets leaving the country, and a final four days of negotiations took place between U.S. officials and the junta government before an agreement was reached. French troops were also ordered to withdraw from the country before they would agree to negotiate a withdrawal with the U.S.

Most U.S. equipment will have to be airlifted out of Niger before September, and everything must be out by the middle of the month. Any items or infrastructure too large for transportation will be left to the junta.

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