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 Niger junta bans U.S. troops infographic
Graphic shows Niger’s recent timeline since last year’s coup d'état.


Niger junta bans U.S. troops

By Duncan Mil

March 18, 2024 - Niger’s junta has revoked with immediate effect a military accord that allows the U.S. to mount counterterrorism operations in the Sahel from its military base in Niger.

The announcement followed a visit to the capital, Niamey, by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee, the State Department’s top official for African affairs, and Gen. Michael E. Langley, who heads U.S. military operations in Africa.

The statement read on television, “denounced with force the condescending attitude” of the head of the U.S. delegation, which he said had undermined the long relationship between the two countries. The junta’s spokesman, Amadou Abdramane, said Niger was “denouncing with immediate effect” the accord with the U.S. military.

The United States operates a drone base in the north of Niger with around 1,100 military staff.

The Pentagon built Air Base 201 six years ago at Agadez for $110 million. It has been vital for monitoring extremist groups connected to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Gen. Langley warned earlier this year that if the U.S. closed the drone base, the move would be “impactful” in Niger and the region and for the United States’ broader counterterrorism strategy.

“If we can’t see, we can’t sense,” he said. “If we lose our footprint in the Sahel, that will degrade our ability to do active watching and warning, including for homeland defense.”

PUBLISHED: 18/03/2024; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images