USA – Pentagon examining a reduction of the US footprint in West Africa

Military Times | Diana Stancy Correll

The Pentagon is considering significantly cutting back its U.S. presence in West Africa, according to a new report.

U.S. troops in Africa have focused on defeating Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked militants such as al-Shabab. But several hundred U.S. troops in Niger, Chad and Mali are most likely to be pulled from the region as part of the Pentagon’s plan, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the internal discussions.

In particular, reduction options on the table include vacating Nigerien Air Base 201, which just became operational in November and cost $110 million. U.S. Africa Command announced last month that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations previously conducted out of a base in Niamey, Niger, are now being conducted out of Nigerien Air Base 201 in Agadez.

Likewise, U.S. officials claim another possibility being considered is eliminating assistance to French forces in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, a possibility the Times reported has taken aback U.S. allies in the region like France, which has approximately 4,500 troops in West Africa.