U.S. service members will withdraw from the West African nation of Niger no later than Sept. 15, U.S. officials said yesterday following five days of negotiations in Niamey, Niger. 

The officials said the United States and Niger should still be able to work on issues of mutual interest in the region following the exit.

For more than a decade, U.S. service members had been working with the Nigerien military to strengthen the force in the face of growing threats from violent extremist groups in the Sahel and West Africa. In July 2023, a military junta overthrew the elected government of Niger, installing the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland — known by the abbreviation CNSP — to rule the country. 

The CNSP called for U.S. service members to leave country, and U.S. defense officials said Niger and the United States agreed on the process yesterday.  

“The Nigeriens committed to a number of things, including the ongoing protection of U.S. forces,” a senior defense official said.

Overall, the official said, the relationship between the U.S. and Nigerien military remains strong. “We have a lengthy history with them going back well over a decade, and working with them over the course of these discussions proved out that that relationship is very strong,” the official said. “Obviously, we’re working against the backdrop of much more challenging political situation.”

A senior military official said the Nigeriens “were keen to keep opportunities open for future engagements, and we’re looking forward to future dialogues. They thought it was important to emphasize that they did not see this as the closing of the relationship, but that a new relationship needed to be negotiated based on what the CNSP[‘s] desires were.”

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