Stuttgart, Germany - The withdrawal of American troops from Niger means the United States will lose access to a key drone base — making it more difficult to monitor security threats in West Africa, say US officials. Niger’s military government gave Washington a Sept. 15 deadline to remove its remaining troops from the country, and representatives from the military have said they are on track to exit the country by then.

Airbase 201, located in the city of Agadez, offers key intelligence about Islamist insurgent groups in the Sahel, a region that has seen increased volatility in recent years. Military coups in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso arose out of anger over increasing militant operations in the countries — but once they gained power, ruling juntas have ended security contracts with the US and France, and opted instead to agree deals with Russia, which looks set to become the de facto security force in the region.

Washington’s concerns come as Niger grapples with anti-junta rebel organizations. The Patriotic Liberation Front, an organization that is trying to secure the release of former President Mohamed Bazoum, this month targeted an oil pipeline that ships crude to neighboring Benin. Relations between Niger and Benin have been tense for months, as the two countries have traded accusations over alleged attempts to destabilize each other.

As the U.S. military packs up what is left of its equipment and counter-terrorism personnel in Niger, American officials are warning it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor growing West African insurgencies.

Niger's military rulers have given the U.S. until Sept. 15 to remove its troops from the country, which also means leaving a $100 million drone base near Agadez in central Niger that had provided a crucial source of intelligence about groups allied to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Michael Langley, the four star Marine general who leads U.S. forces in Africa, said the big challenge for his command will be detecting when militant groups could grow to the point where they could mount a threat to the United States or Europe.

Since 2020, soldiers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have carried out coups blaming civilian leaders for allowing Islamist militants to gain ground. Once in power, juntas have torn up defense agreements with the U.S., French and U.N. forces and invited Russians to take their place.