The base serves as a critical intelligence and surveillance hub for the U.S. military’s efforts to combat violent extremism in North and West Africa, said Jocelyn Trainer, an expert on sub-Saharan Africa with the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.
“With a limited U.S. base presence in Africa – restricted to Djibouti and Niger – losing access to Base Aerienne 201[Niger Air Base 201] would be a detrimental blow to U.S. and African joint efforts to counter violent extremist groups connected to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda operating in the area,” Trainer told Task & Purpose. “This setback coincides with France diminishing its presence in the region. A reduced U.S. and French presence could create space for Wagner, or other actors, to fill a security vacuum.”
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