(Niamey) US soldiers from the Response Force for North and West Africa (NARF) carried out a “strategic exercise in Niger” from August 7th to 9th, the US command of this force announced on Thursday.
Posted on Aug 12, 2021 at 3:56 pm
This exercise enabled NARF to “test its operational reach across the region,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, commander of the Task Force Southern Europe and Africa (SETF-AF) on which the NARF depends, quoted in the press release.
The NARF’s mission is to respond to crises and emergencies in North and West Africa, “including the protection of American interests,” the text reads.
The American soldiers had an “informal” meeting with their French colleagues “at (American) Air Force Base 101 in Niamey”.
“The French are important long-term allies who share our commitment to addressing complex security problems in Africa,” said the US command.
Niger faces the murderous actions of armed jihadist groups in its western part near Mali and in its south-eastern part near Nigeria.
In the fight against the jihadists, it benefits from the support of several Western countries, including France and the USA, which have military bases there, and Germany has a logistics base there.
In 2017, the number of American soldiers – mainly special forces active against jihadist groups – was estimated at 800 in Niger, where the United States has a large drone base in the Agadez region (northern Libya, in addition to the Niamey base).
For its part, France will begin gradually reducing its military personnel in the Sahel, after eight years of uninterrupted presence, in favor of reduced equipment from 2,500 to 3,000 men against the roughly 5,000 that are forcing the Barkhane to disappear at the end of the year.