According to the publication, the decision may be made «as part of the U.S. defense agency’s plan to deploy its troops around the world».
Head of the Pentagon Mark Esper is considering the possibility of reducing the number of U.S. troops deployed in a number of countries in western Africa, and even a complete withdrawal from the region. This was reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, citing sources.
According to it, the relevant decision can be made «as part of the plan of the U.S. defense agency to relocate its troops around the world. In particular, the ongoing discussions at the Pentagon concern the possible withdrawal of U.S. troops from bases in Niger and Chad. In addition, Washington is discussing the option of «ceasing assistance to France in the fight against militants in Mali and Burkina Faso».
As the newspaper notes, the Pentagon is ready to take such steps, since it gives «greater priority to deterring the so-called great powers — Russia and China than to fight terrorist groups. Clarity on this issue is expected to come in January. At the same time, according to the publication, the initiative of the US military department «will not be approved by American congressmen and will cause criticism from allies, including France».
The newspaper points out that initially the US has deployed its troops in West Africa to help the countries of the region fight against terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. However, since the threat of terrorist attacks by these groups directly in the U.S. is low, according to The New York Times, the U.S. authorities consider it appropriate to reduce its military presence in the region.
At the same time, the publication draws attention to the fact that in case of such a decision, «the resulting vacuum in Africa may be filled by other great powers. In addition, it could lead to increased destabilization on the continent, which would cause «increased flow of refugees to Europe».
According to the newspaper, about 6.5 thousand American servicemen are currently stationed in Africa. Most of them are in Djibouti, Somalia and Niger.