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US Sets Sept 15 Deadline for Troops Withdrawal from Niger


The United States (US) has begun withdrawing its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the country’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, scheduled for completion by September 15, 2024, signifies the end of the American military presence in Niger.

A press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday detailed discussions held between May 15 and 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger.

These discussions aimed to ensure an orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

The talks, led by high-ranking officials such as Christopher Maier, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, and Mamane Kiaou, Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, emphasized transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal includes troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defence and the Department of National Defence of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

Even though they’ve withdrawn militarily, both countries reiterated their dedication to continuing diplomatic discussions and collaborating on shared concerns, such as counterterrorism endeavors.

“The U.S. Department of Defence and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is, therefore, agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

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“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The initial establishment of a military base in Niger by the US aimed to counter armed groups linked with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, encompassing Burkina Faso and Mali. The pivotal airbase in Agadez, situated around 920km from the capital Niamey, has served as a critical hub for manned and unmanned surveillance flights alongside various military operations.

However, on April 19, 2024, the US declared intentions to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the nation’s shifting alignment towards Russia and its distancing from Western powers.

Consequently, the US Department of State consented to the withdrawal of roughly 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military governance since July 2023.

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