Niger’s Defense Ministry issued a statement a month ago confirming that they are allowing the US to use armed drones within their country, but the Pentagon has only today reported that they had received such permission.
US generals said the permission was “long overdue” and that they expect to conduct such flights within the next few days. The US has been flying surveillance drones from Niger for years, but long failed to get permission to arm them.
The October 4 ambush which killed four US soldiers appears to have been the opportunity that the Pentagon was looking for, as almost immediately thereafter they started hyping that incident as justification for arming the drones.
Drone strikes have been a dangerous tactic for the US, given the large number of civilians they’ve tended to kill, and have fueled major anti-US sentiment in countries like Pakistan and Yemen. Whether this also happens in Niger remains to be seen, and likely depends on how frequently the strikes are employed.