US to pull troops out of Niger by mid-September: Pentagon

The U.S. military will pull all of its assets out of Niger by mid-September, the Pentagon announced Sunday, after days of talks with the country’s military junta finalized a timeline.

A group of military leaders executed a coup in Niger last year, forming a military junta government that has geopolitically aligned with Russia. Talks of leaving Niger have lasted weeks, with the timeline finalized Sunday after four days of high-intensity negotiations.

About 1,000 U.S. troops have been stationed in the country for counterterrorism operations against ISIS and al Qaeda affiliated groups.

The withdrawal plan is for most equipment to be airlifted from the country before September, with everything out by midway through the month. Military infrastructure and some items too large to transport will be left to the Nigerien military.

“The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns,” Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine told The Washington Post last week. “It is not a sign of friendship to come on our soil but let the terrorists attack us.”

Niger ordered France to withdraw troops before negotiating with the U.S. on a withdrawal agreement. The coming withdrawal is another setback for the U.S. in the African Sahel region, which has experienced multiple coups in the past few years that have ultimately benefited Russia.

Threats from al Qaeda and ISIS-linked insurgent groups have already spiked in other countries ruled by military governments, including Mali, which booted French forces in 2022 and has since seen terrorist groups double their territorial control.

The Pentagon said talks to withdraw the about 100 U.S. troops in neighboring Chad are also continuing, though talks on revising an agreement allowing the Americans to stay are expected next month.

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