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Pentagon Official: US Yet To Receive Formal Request From Niger To Depart

DURING a Congressional hearing on Thursday, a senior Pentagon (defence ministry) official disclosed that the United States has not yet received a formal request from Niger’s ruling military council, the CNSP, regarding the departure of US troops from the country, despite ambiguous signals on their status.

Celeste Wallander, the assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs, informed the House Armed Services Committee that the CNSP has not officially asked the US military to leave Niger. However, Wallander noted that the junta has declared the status of forces agreement, which outlines the terms of US military presence in the country, as null and void.

‘While the CNSP has indicated that the status of forces agreement is no longer applicable, they have assured us that American military forces are protected and they will take no action that will endanger them,’ stated Wallander during the hearing.


Currently, there are about 650 US troops and several hundred support personnel stationed in Niger, historically a critical hub for counterterrorism operations in the region. However, following a coup last July that ousted the democratically elected president, and subsequent requests for French forces to leave, the situation has become increasingly uncertain.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh confirmed that US personnel in Niger have largely consolidated to one base and continue to conduct limited drone operations for force protection purposes

Singh added, ‘There are ongoing conversations with the CNSP to discuss the path forward,’ indicating diplomatic efforts to navigate the evolving situation.

The abrupt shift in relations with Niger raised concerns among US lawmakers, prompting questions about the country’s transformation from a strategic ally to being under junta rule within a short timeframe.

General Michael Langley, head of US Africa Command, attributed the phenomenon partly to disinformation campaigns, noting the proliferation of social media across the continent. Langley highlighted Russia’s active dissemination of disinformation and emphasised the need for countermeasures.

‘We teach the law of armed conflict and civilian-led governance, but it’s being drowned out by disinformation,’ remarked Langley, stressing the urgency of countering these efforts.

Langley revealed that he has requested additional resources from the State Department to address Russia’s disinformation campaign and its impact on stability in the region.

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