US to pull forces from Chad in temporary move

The Pentagon also prepares to end its presence in neighbouring Niger

The Koufroun refugee camp on the border between Chad and Sudan, on April 9.  AFP
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The US military is temporarily moving most of its troops out of Chad, the Pentagon said on Thursday, in a move that further reduces the American footprint in Africa.

Pentagon press secretary Maj Gen Patrick Ryder said some of the US troops in Chad would move out of the landlocked Central African nation.

“This is a temporary step as part of an ongoing review of our security co-operation, which will resume after Chad's May 6 presidential election,” Maj Gen Ryder told reporters.

State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said that the US is still talking to Chad about the security partnership and he expects those talks to increase after the election.

The Pentagon this week started talks with Niger on withdrawing the more than 1,000 American troops stationed in the junta-ruled country, which has been a key base for regional counter-terrorism operations.

Niger's government, which removed its president last year, last month said it was ending a military co-operation agreement with Washington.

Niger and Chad have played a vital role in the Pentagon's counter-extremist efforts in the Sahel region and West Africa.

Over the past decade, the US has performed counter-terrorism and global security operations against ISIS and Al Qaeda through two bases in Niger.

About 100 US troops are stationed in Chad. France, the country's former colonial power, still has 1,000 troops and warplanes in the vast country.

US and Nigerien officials met on Thursday in Niger's capital to “begin discussing the orderly withdrawal of US forces", Maj Gen Ryder said.

He said that it was a “safe bet” to assume that the discussions centred on a total withdrawal.

Updated: April 25, 2024, 8:05 PM