US Troops Withdraw from Niger: Arrival of Russian Military Instructors Signals Shift

A senior State Department official said Niger's prime minister had asked Washington to withdraw "illegal" troops from the country and the US had agreed

by Sededin Dedovic
US Troops Withdraw from Niger: Arrival of Russian Military Instructors Signals Shift
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A senior State Department official pointed out that Niger's prime minister actively lobbied the US authorities for the withdrawal of troops from their country, which led to an agreement between Washington and Niger. The agreement, reached at a meeting between US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Niger's Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zane, marks the beginning of the process of withdrawing more than 1,000 US troops from the country and also calls into question the status of a $110 million US air base.

The decision is the culmination of events last year, when a military coup in Niger led to the overthrow of a democratically elected government and the installation of a military junta that declared the US military presence "illegal".

For many US officials, the base in Niger was a key tool in the fight against terrorism. Therefore, the withdrawal agreement represents a serious step backwards, the Washington Post assesses. Nigerien officials have accused the US of trying to impose a view that their country has no ties to Iran, Russia or other US adversaries.

This situation sparked protests by hundreds of protesters who gathered in Niamey last weekend demanding the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Changes in Niger's military strategy were further confirmed by the arrival of Russian military personnel.

At least 100 Russian military instructors arrived in Niger's capital, Niamey, last week, while French troops, who previously led counter-terrorism operations in the region, have already been withdrawn from the country. The event takes place against the backdrop of growing concerns about democratic backsliding in West and Central Africa.

Eight coups in the past four years, including in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, have further emphasized the need for careful consideration of democratic processes in the region. The agreement between the US and Niger also sheds light on the global geopolitical situation, with the eyes of world powers such as America, the EU, Russia and China increasingly turning to the African continent.

Discussions about military cooperation, trade in resources and influence are increasingly present, especially at a time of escalating conflicts in other parts of the world.

Russian Washington