Tags: niger | drone | reaper drone | terrorism

NBC: US Eyeing Armed Drones Against Terrorists in Niger

NBC: US Eyeing Armed Drones Against Terrorists in Niger
An Armed Forces personnel moves a small model of the Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) Reaper for XIII and 39 Squadrons at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. (Rui Vieira/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:13 AM

The United States is preparing to expand the fight against terrorism in Niger with armed drones in the West African nation, a move given added urgency after the Oct. 4 ambush of U.S. soldiers, NBC News reported Thursday.

"In the wake of the attack, the U.S. has been pressing the government of Niger to allow armed drones at the U.S. bases in that country," the network added, citing three U.S. officials.

Plans to arm Reaper drones, now used mainly for reconnaissance, were being considered before four American soldiers died in a firefight between terrorists and a unit of U.S. Special Forces and Niger troops.

But the ambush is "fueling an urgency within the Trump administration to take more aggressive steps against the terrorist groups operating in North and West Africa," intelligence and military sources told NBC.

Arming the Reapers would be major escalation in the fight in Niger, although the United States has been flying lethal drones in military operations in the Middle East and South Asia.

"It demonstrates that the U.S. is expanding its use of lethal force . . . in the war on terror," said Juan Zarate, a counterterrorism expert and NBC News analyst. "It also demonstrates that the war on terror is migrating."

The United States deployed the MQ-9 Reaper zones outside of Niger's capital of Niamey in 2016 when it spent $50 million on an airbase in the country's central city of Agadez, according to DW Akademie.

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The United States is preparing to expand the fight against terrorism in Niger with armed drones in the West African nation, a move given added urgency after the Oct. 4 ambush of U.S. soldiers, NBC News reported Thursday.
niger, drone, reaper drone, terrorism
244
2017-13-26
Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:13 AM
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