Thursday, September 13, 2018

CIA Drones in Niger

The New York Times reports that the CIA is expanding its presence at a recently established drone base at Dirkou, Niger, an oasis town in the Sahara that has a small airport. Over the past two years, the U.S. military has been building another drone base in Agadez, central Niger, to conduct reconnaissance. It will have an expected ten-year price tag of over a quarter-billion dollars, is run by the U.S. air force, and will host armed Reaper drones. The CIA has already used the expanded base in Dirkou for surveillance missions, but now the drones are likely to be used on lethal ones. For now, the targets are militants in southern Libya.
The U.S. Army’s Africa Command has also carried out lethal drone strikes against al-Qaeda and Islamic State operatives in Libya from bases in Sicily and Niamey, the capital of Niger. Dirkou is hundreds of miles closer than either to southern Libya. The Nigerien government, according to the Times, is supportive of the U.S. use of drones

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