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    US Troops, Equipment Will Depart From Niger by Mid-September, the Pentagon Says

    US Troops, Equipment Will Depart From Niger by Mid-September, the Pentagon Says

    (AP) — U.S. troops ordered out of Niger by the West African country's ruling junta will complete their withdrawal by the middle of September, the Pentagon and Nigerien defense officials said Sunday.

    The timeline was the product of four days of talks between the countries' defense officials in the capital of , according to a joint statement.

    Niger's decision to kick out American forces dealt a blow to U.S. military operations in the Sahel, a vast region south of the Sahara desert where groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group operate.

    U.S. troops and some gear already have begun leaving the country, a senior military official and a senior defense official who briefed reporters on a call Sunday said. The is to remove all lethal, hazardous or classified equipment before the last U.S. troops depart, but items that are determined to be too expensive to fly out could be left for the Nigerien military to use instead, the officials said.

    The U.S. also will leave behind infrastructure it has built over the years to support the approximately 1,000 troops who have been based there to conduct counterterrorism missions, the officials said. Fewer than 1,000 U.S. troops are still in Niger, mostly on an airbase near Agadez, some 920 kilometers (550 miles) away from the capital.

    The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details of the withdrawal.

    The officials called…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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