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U.S. and Niger Announce Withdrawal of American Personnel by September

The withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. military personnel in Niger is underway, and all American troops will leave the West African country by Sept. 15, the U.S. and Nigerien governments said on Sunday.

The agreement, described in a joint statement by the two countries’ militaries, spells out the terms of the pullout that the Biden administration announced last month. It also signifies the beginning of the end of the Pentagon’s most enduring counterterrorism partnership in the tumultuous Sahel region of Africa.

A senior Pentagon official, Christopher P. Maier, and a top U.S. officer, Lt. Gen. Dagvin R.M. Anderson, met in Niamey, Niger’s capital, this past week with representatives of Niger’s military, led by the army chief of staff, Col. Maj. Mamane Sani Kiaou, the statement said. The meeting was meant “to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger,” it added.

The statement, released by the Pentagon, also said the two militaries had established procedures to ease the entry and the exit of U.S. personnel, including flight and landing clearances for military planes. Niger has balked at approving some of those clearances in recent months, American officials said.

In a separate statement posted on social media, Niger’s military said that “the withdrawal of American forces from Niger will be carried out with mutual respect and transparency by mid-September 2024.”

The date was in line with what American officials had been expecting, but became official after the meetings last week. About 100 American personnel with pressing medical needs or family obligations, or whose jobs had been made obsolete by the earlier decision to withdraw, have left on commercial flights in the past week, Kelly Cahalan, a spokeswoman for the military’s Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, said on Sunday.

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