US Backs Out Of Niger After Coup Brings In Anti-American Junta

In a huge U.S. foreign policy hit by a geopolitical rival, United States has agreed to withdraw its military personnel from Niger while Russian military advisers continue working closely with the new junta there following a coup that has challenged Western forces’ presence in the country.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine confirmed the agreement to remove more than 1,000 U.S. troops during recent discussions. The planned withdrawal raises questions about the future of significant U.S. investments in the region such as the $110 million air base in Agadez which has been central to counterterrorism operations across the Sahel.

The State Department spokesman said the Pentagon will immediately begin planning an “orderly and responsible exit.” The official also mentioned that the State Department will coordinate with the Defense Department to mitigate any “strategic disruptions.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) highlighted the risk to American personnel in his report. He stated that the troops felt “abandoned” due to a “concealment of intelligence” by the Biden administration’s State Department.

Niger has been increasingly pivoting toward Russia for military support as evidenced by the recent arrival of Russian military instructors in Niamey.

The U.S. move comes amid a series of coups in West and Central Africa signaling a worrying trend of democratic backsliding. With eight coups in just four years across the region the strategic and political landscape is rapidly changing complicating U.S. efforts to maintain stability and counter extremism.

Chris Burgard a journalist and filmmaker tweeted “U.S. troops in Niger felt abandoned due to a ‘concealment of intelligence’ by the Biden State Dept. according to @RepMattGaetz’s report. Now we’re withdrawing completely. Another disaster for this administration.”

While the withdrawal responds to immediate political pressures it may have long-lasting effects on U.S. strategic interests in Africa and beyond reflecting a more extensive recalibration of its global military footprint. The decision raises concerns about the future stability of the region and the potential for extremist groups to exploit the vacuum left by the U.S. departure.

As the situation in Niger continues to unfold the U.S. will need to navigate a delicate balance between respecting the sovereignty of the new junta and protecting its strategic interests in the region.