US troop presence in Niger and Chad remains under review

The US military's presence in Niger and Chad, crucial for counterterrorism operations in the Sahel region, is uncertain. Niger has ended an agreement with the US, while Chad has questioned its deal. The US is concerned about losing influence to Russia and China. Despite plans to withdraw troops from Niger, negotiations for a new agreement continue. Chad's government has also requested the US leave, but officials are working to persuade them to stay. If both countries ask the US to leave, the military will have to find alternative ways to conduct operations in the Sahel.

PTI | Boston | Updated: 25-04-2024 04:44 IST | Created: 25-04-2024 04:44 IST
US troop presence in Niger and Chad remains under review
  • Country:
  • United States

There has been no final decision on whether or not all US troops will leave Niger and Chad, two African countries that are integral to the military's efforts to counter violent extremist organisations across the Sahel region, a top US military official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Niger's ruling junta ended an agreement last month that allows US troops to operate in the West African country.

The government of neighbouring Chad in recent days also has questioned its agreement with the US, Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Admiral Christopher Grady, the nation's second-highest-ranking military officer, said in an interview.

The agreements allow the US to conduct critical counterterrorism operations within the countries' borders and have supported military partner training in both nations. The reversals have prompted concern that US influence in Africa is losing ground to overtures from Russia and China.

''We are all trying to establish ourselves as the partner of choice,'' Grady said. ''It is up to us to establish why we think our partnership with them is important. We certainly want to be there. We want to help them, we want to empower them, we want to do things by, with and through (them).'' While US officials said on Saturday that the military would begin plans to withdraw troops from Niger, they said discussions on a new military agreement were ongoing.

''There is still negotiations underway,'' Grady said. ''I do not believe there is a final decision on disposition of US forces there.'' Relations have frayed between Niger and Western countries since mutinous soldiers ousted the country's democratically elected president in July last year. Niger's junta has since told French forces to leave and turned instead to Russia for security. Earlier this month, Russian military trainers arrived to reinforce the country's air defences and with Russian equipment to train Nigeriens to use.

The government of Chad also recently requested that US forces leave, and officials from the State Department, US Africa Command and the Pentagon will work with Chad's government to make the case for US forces to stay, Grady said.

''The team has got on the ground there and work it through,'' Grady said.

He said if both countries ultimately decide the US cannot remain there, the military will have to look for alternatives to run counterterrorism missions across the Sahel, a vast region south of the Sahara Desert.

''If we are asked to leave, and after negotiations that is the way it plays out, then we are going to have to recalculate and figure out a new way to do it,'' Grady said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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