WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is looking into reducing or even withdrawing US troops from West Africa, part of a worldwide redeployment of military forces, the New York Times reported Tuesday. There are between 6,000 and 7,000 US troops in Africa, mainly in West Africa but also in places like Somalia.
The U.S. presence includes military trainers as well as a recently built $110 million drone base in Niger, the Times said. A withdrawal would also end U.S. support for French military efforts in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in their war along with local troops against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State group jihadists.
The Pentagon supports them by providing intelligence, logistical support and aerial refueling at an annual cost to the Pentagon of some $45 million a year, the Times said.
France has had a major military presence in Mali since 2013, when it launched an intervention against Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists who had overrun the country's north.