US Withdraws Troops From Another African Country

Mahamat Déby, dictator of Chad, in 2022

By Micaela Burrow

U.S. special operations troops stationed at a French military base in Chad have relocated to Germany after the government in N’Djamena threatened to boot all American forces from the country, a defense official said Wednesday.

In April, Chadian officials alerted the U.S. defense attaché at the embassy of potential plans to cancel the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which allows U.S. troops to operate in the country, and demanded the U.S. pull out, CNN reported. As of Tuesday, more than half of the troops assigned to a Special Operations Task Force working out of the French base in N’Djamena had completed a provisional withdrawal while the U.S. works to reinforce the arrangement.

“We can confirm the safe and orderly relocation of approximately 60 US forces from Chad to Germany where they will continue their work,” a defense official told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “This temporary step is part of an ongoing review of our security cooperation, which will resume after the May 6 Presidential election.” (RELATED: Rep. Matt Gaetz Releases Report Alleging Cover-Up Of Stranded US Troops Overseas)

Fewer than 100 U.S. troops, most assigned to the task force that serves as a center for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operations in the region, had been operating from the French base, CNN reported. The Special Operations Task Force was based in Germany before relocating to Chad in 2021.

Some U.S. troops will continue to work out of the embassy in N’Djamena, along with a standard Marine force tasked with protecting the embassy, CNN reported.

Chad’s dissatisfaction with the U.S. presence stems largely from an issue with paperwork that will be resolved after the upcoming elections, CNN reported, citing a defense official and another source familiar.

In addition to the partial withdrawal from Chad, the Pentagon is working on a complete withdrawal of some 1,000 troops from neighboring Niger after the country terminated a security agreement. Pentagon officials are still negotiating with the government over the withdrawal, with most of the wrinkles to be addressed involving logistical concerns such as security clearances for military flights, an official said, according to CNN.

The U.S. fought to negotiate a continued presence in Niger, where it operated a $110 million air base used to control drone operations against Islamist militant groups in the region, even after the newly-installed junta announced plans to end military cooperation with the U.S. The U.S. agreed in April to withdraw all troops.

Pentagon officials believe Central and southern African partner countries are caught between wanting developmental and economic assistance offered from U.S. adversaries Russia and China, and seeking to balance those needs against “risks to national sovereignty.”

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