U.S. troops in the African nation of Niger should evacuate quickly given the tumultuous situation on the ground, experts and former defense officials told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

At the request of the junta-backed regime, over 1,000 U.S. troops currently present in Niger will begin evacuating in the coming months, officials said on Friday and Saturday, as the region continues to spiral into chaos under the military coup-backed regime. The withdrawal should be conducted quickly as the U.S. troops are in danger from the growing threat of a hostile government and population, experts told the DCNF.

“If you don’t want to see another Benghazi or another Mogadishu, these guys got to go,” Michael DiMino, a senior fellow at Defense Priorities and former CIA officer, told the DCNF, referring to previous incidents in which U.S. forces in Libya and Somalia came under attack and were killed by militants in 2012 and 1993. “It was never a matter of if, it was always a matter of when those guys had to go because this new government in Niger does not want us there. They made that very clear.”

“What the State Department was not understanding about these guys, is that these guys are cold-blooded. This new government in Niger? They don’t care. They do not want the United States involved in their country,” DiMino told the DCNF. “There was this denialism for several months that, ‘We can salvage this, we did fix this.’ The denialism put us behind the ball such that we could have a very terrible event occur at any moment. That’s that’s how bad this is.”

The U.S. has maintained a military presence in Niger since 2013 to conduct counterterrorism operations and prevent the spread of jihadist terrorism in the broader Sahel region. Niger is home to a major U.S. airbase and the American government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade into training and equipping the country’s armed forces.

The region, already in a troubled state, fell into rapid decline in mid-2023 after Niger’s armed forces staged a coup and overthrew the democratically elected president. The general who spearheaded the coup, Abdourahamane Tchiani, received his military training in part at a Department of Defense-backed college.

The military has now propped up its own government in Niger, rejected the “illegal” U.S. presence in March and has embraced Russian forces for security. The Biden administration spent recent weeks trying and failing to convince the military regime in Niger to allow U.S. forces to remain present in the region, culminating in the announcement over the weekend that American troops will be withdrawn.

It was a mistake for the Biden administration not to withdraw the U.S. troops from Niger sooner, experts said, especially with the growing threat against them from militants and rebels in the region. Protests have broken out across Niger in recent weeks — even after the withdrawal announcement was made — with hundreds of people demanding that troops leave immediately.

“It wasn’t a ‘decision’ to withdraw from Niger so much as an order to leave from the ruling junta, but it was a welcome development for U.S. national security,” Davis told the DCNF, calling the initial deployment to Niger “problematic” and unwarranted. “Virtually every operation in Africa, from Somalia to Niger on down, has no genuine value for the United States.”

Several servicemember whistleblowers on the ground in Niger have come forward and alleged that the Biden administration is intentionally downplaying the reality of the situation. U.S. military and diplomatic flights are not authorized by the military regime to enter the country and American troops have increasingly limited access to food, medicine and equipment, according to the whistleblowers.

“We have not been able to conduct overflight, we have not been able to get food or medicine or other supplies in and out since the coup,” DiMino told the DCNF. “It’s gotten so dire that the only question is, can we stay or not without American troops being overwhelmed… I don’t think our interests in the Sahel are great enough to demand the sacrifice of our men and women.”

“There’s always some risk of that kind of scenario when you have foreign troops in a country, even if they have the government’s permission, because a lot of times there’s a lot of dissent, where large portions of the population agree with the government about having U.S. troops,” Benjamin Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities, told the DCNF. “So you could see a kind of Popular Mobilization against U.S. forces that includes violence.”

An exact timeline for the withdrawal has not yet been set. Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed during a press briefing on Tuesday that discussions were ongoing, and a small delegation from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) will travel to Niger in the near future for further deliberations.

The State Department and Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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