U.S. Completes the Departure from Niger

U.S. Completes the Departure from Niger

The U.S. completed its withdrawal from Niger as the last Air Force C-17 Globemaster III took off from Air Base 101 in the Sahel Country. In the summer of 2023, Niger experienced a military coup, and former colonial power France expelled its troops. After the French troops left, Niger began negotiations with the United States with the same expectations. 

The United States, like France, used two military bases in Niger as their primary base for monitoring regional jihadist activity. As Niger distanced itself from the West, it grew closer to Russia. Last month, Russian military instructors arrived in Niger as part of a new agreement with the country's military leaders. The United States is also concerned about Iran, as the junta is considering allowing Tehran to access Niger's uranium reserves for its nuclear programme.

The United States presence in Niger has been largely concentrated at one base, Air Base 201, which is far from the capital, Niamey, where the other U.S. base, Air Base 101, is located. The United States has flown drones, including Air Force MQ-9s, to gather intelligence on militant groups in the region. U.S. officials say drone operations have been limited to force protection reconnaissance missions, and troops have remained on base.