American Troops Ordered to Pull Out

( – Russia has greatly expanded its influence on African countries. The United States has tried to counter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence and fight terrorism in the region at the same time. In a significant blow to the US influence on the continent, the Defense Department ordered American troops to leave Niger.

In March, Niger’s ruling junta ended an agreement that allowed US troops to operate in the country. There are about 1,000 troops in the nation fighting against Islamic terrorism, which has increased in West Africa in recent years. The Pentagon met with officials in Niger and tried to hammer out an agreement that would have allowed some American troops to stay, but that never came to fruition.

POLITICO reported the Pentagon has ordered the troops to leave Niger over the next several months. An unidentified official said the timeline isn’t final yet but that the service members would be moving to other locations in the region so they could still carry out their counterterrorism mission.

The US has spent years on counterterrorism operations in Niger. The Pentagon built a drone base in Agadez. The base was one of the most important parts of America’s strategy in the region until the 2023 military coup that overthrew the government. Russian troops are now in the country and have even taken up residence near an airbase where US troops are located in the capital of Niamey.

There are concerns that some of the Russian troops, which include mercenaries from the Wagner Group, could antagonize US troops and cause conflicts. However, Pentagon officials don’t think the American military members are in danger but don’t want there to be any surprises.

Molly Phee, the assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, said there are “ongoing frank discussions” with officials in Niger. But the State Department doesn’t “want to speculate and get ahead of the discussions.”

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