In its efforts to combat Islamist extremists in African countries like Libya, Mali and Nigeria, the U.S. is investing at least $50 million in a military air base in Niger. The U.S., which already shares an airbase with France's anti-Islamist force, Operation Barkhane, in the capital Niamey, will be using the funds to upgrade the facility in the central city of Agadez for deployment of drones.
A spokeswoman for the Pentagon, Michelle Baldanza, confirmed that the U.S. will be spending the sum for developing a new runway and for other related infrastructural expansions, writes the BBC. The announcement came after an investigative news site, The Intercept, claimed that America is planning its most important military construction in Africa, which is likely to be completed by 2017.
According to formerly secret files, which were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the military project will be costing double the amount announced by the Pentagon, notes The Intercept. The U.S., which has provided millions of dollars’ worth of planes, trucks, and other gear to Niger, frequently conducts joint military drills with the impoverished nation.