US troops remain in Niger

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The United States troops stationed in Niger Republic will not withdraw as the senate voted against the proposal on October 26, 2023, which aimed to compel President Joe Biden to withdraw U.S. troops from Niger.

The vote count was 86 against the proposal and 11 in favor.

Recall that military officers staged a coup and took over government in July, a development the US officially recognized.

Although the US suspended assistance, there were no immediate plans to alter the U.S. troop presence in the country.

Niger has been a strategic partner in the U.S. fight against Islamist insurgents responsible for the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions across Africa. Approximately 1,000 Department of Defense personnel are stationed in Niger. Republican Senator Rand Paul, who sponsored the legislation, argued that these troops were deployed without proper congressional approval, expressing concerns about American involvement in a conflict in Niger.

Senator Ben Cardin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cautioned against a U.S. withdrawal, suggesting it could create a power vacuum that might be exploited by Russia or their partner, Wagner mercenaries. He emphasized the importance of not abandoning that region, which has seen U.S. troops training Nigerien forces in counterterrorism and operating military bases conducting drone missions against groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliates.

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