Another group of U.S. troops is. Withdrawing from an African base in the Central African nation of Chad. Source: The Guardian, Nigeria. - Photo: 2024

More U.S. Troops Leaving African Bases

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 29 April 2024 (IDN) — Another group of American military personnel has been ordered to pack up and withdraw from an African base in the Central African nation of Chad, three senior U.S. officials said this week. It comes amid a broader, involuntary reconfiguration of Washington’s security policy in a volatile part of Africa.

The officials said the repositioning could be temporary as the U.S. intends to negotiate with Chad about their security relationship, – including potentially returning the troops who departed.

It is the second time in a week the Biden administration has acknowledged it will comply with a host nation directive to remove deployed forces from an African country deemed integral to U.S. counterterrorism operations in the region.

Earlier, officials said the United States had agreed to pull out more than 1,000 military personnel from neighboring Niger.

The discussion around the U.S. military presence in Chad—a vast landlocked nation in Central Africa—is particularly sensitive given the rejection of the Western military partnerships in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Disagreement between U.S. officials and a Chadian general?

The Special Forces troop departure, first reported by the New York Times, follows an apparent disagreement between U.S. officials and a Chadian general, who claimed that Washington failed to produce documents justifying its military presence in Chad’s capital N’Djamena and asked the Americans to “immediately stop” their activity at the base.

Chad’s leader, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who has ruled since 2021, has not called for the removal of French soldiers based in Chad but he has built ties with leaders in central African states and with Russia.

Earlier this year, Déby went to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin, who said the two countries had “great opportunities to develop our bilateral ties.”

That meeting marked a shift from just last year when U.S. intelligence officials warned that Russian mercenaries were working with rebels to overthrow Chad’s government, which then was seen as too pro-Western.

Growing threats from Islamist extremist organizations

The three former French colonies, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, are facing growing threats from Islamist extremist organizations, are ruled by military juntas and are increasingly looking to Russia for military assistance.

Each country has in recent years demanded that French military forces, which historically had been the lead international counterterrorism partner, leave their countries.

The United States, which has not had a security relationship with Mali or Burkina Faso since their coups, had maintained its presence in Niger, which includes a newly constructed drone base that cost $110 million to build.

While U.S. security assistance paused after Niger’s military seized power last summer, negotiations continued, with the United States seeking to compel Niger to agree to reject a relationship with Russia. But after a tense meeting last month, the junta canceled the status-of-forces agreement and declared the U.S. military presence “illegal.”

The junta’s spokesman said the U.S. delegation had tried to dictate that the West African nation does not have relationships with certain other countries, including Iran and Russia. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Another group of U.S. troops is. Withdrawing from an African base in the Central African nation of Chad. Source: The Guardian, Nigeria.

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate

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