U.S. Service Members to Withdraw from Niger by Sep 15

U.S. officials announced yesterday that American service members will withdraw from Niger by September 15, following five days of negotiations in Niamey, Niger. Despite the withdrawal, the United States and Niger plan to continue collaborating on issues of mutual interest in the region.

For over a decade, U.S. service members have worked with the Nigerien military to bolster their forces against growing threats from violent extremist groups in the Sahel and West Africa. However, in July 2023, a military junta overthrew Niger’s elected government, establishing the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) as the ruling body.

The CNSP requested the departure of U.S. forces, leading to an agreement on the withdrawal process. “The Nigeriens committed to a number of things, including the ongoing protection of U.S. forces,” a senior defense official stated.

Despite the political upheaval, the relationship between the U.S. and Nigerien military remains strong. “We have a lengthy history with them going back well over a decade, and working with them over the course of these discussions proved that the relationship is very strong,” the official noted. “Obviously, we’re working against the backdrop of a much more challenging political situation.”

A senior military official emphasized that the Nigeriens are interested in maintaining future engagements. “They thought it was important to emphasize that they did not see this as the closing of the relationship, but that a new relationship needed to be negotiated based on the CNSP’s desires,” the official said.–News Desk