US military begins slow transition out of Niger ahead of troop withdrawal

The U.S. has begun a slow transition of its exit from Niger in in preparation for a troop withdrawal, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Niger announce that the withdrawal of U.S. forces and assets from Niger has progressed from initial preparations to redeployment,” the statement reads. “This significant transition began with the departure of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from Air Base 101 in Niamey on June 7, 2024.”

“This flight exemplifies the productive cooperation between the U.S. and Nigerien armed forces through the Joint Disengagement Commission, which is tasked with overseeing and coordinating the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger,” the statement continues.

Last month, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. military will pull all of its assets in Niger out by the middle of September. That announcement followed a coup in the northern African country last year by a group of military leaders that formed a military junta government which has aligned itself with Russia.

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

Prior to negotiations with the U.S. about a withdrawal agreement, Niger ordered France to withdraw its troops. The looming withdrawal is one of multiple disappointments for the U.S. in the region that has gone through many coups in recent years which have been a plus for Russia.

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