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    US Readying Plans to Evacuate Drone Bases if Necessary Under Niger’s New Junta, Commander Says

    US Readying Plans to Evacuate Drone Bases if Necessary Under Niger's New Junta, Commander Says

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. is making precautionary plans to evacuate two key drone and counter-terror bases in Niger if that becomes necessary under the West African nation's new ruling junta, the Force commander for said Friday.

    That planning includes looking for U.S.-allied nations in the Saharan and Sahel regions, some of the world's most active areas for al-Qaida- and Islamic State-allied extremist groups, “that we could maybe partner up with, and then move our assets there,” Air Force Gen. James Hecker told reporters in Washington.

    Hecker stressed that there had been no decision from the Biden administration regarding whether the Niger 's July 26 overthrow of the country's democratically elected president would compel U.S. diplomats or security forces to leave the country.

    U.S. bases there have been vital counter-terror posts in an unstable region that is seeing an increasing number of coups as well as encroachment by Russia's Wagner mercenary group. The U.S. presence includes air bases in Niamey, the capital, and in the remote of Agadez on the southern edge of the Sahara.

    If U.S. forces do leave, either following a decision by the Biden administration that it cannot work with the mutinous soldiers now leading the country or because the junta orders them out, “it obviously will have an effect” on U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism efforts, Hecker said.

    “But of course what we hope for…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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