Small Wars Journal

This Obscure, Costly Air Base is the New Front in the Battle Against Violent Extremism

This Obscure, Costly Air Base is the New Front in the Battle Against Violent Extremism by Stephen Losey – Military Times

On a sandy patch of land in Niger, at the edge of the Sahara Desert, lies the Air Force’s newest base. It’s all but unknown to the vast majority of Americans and is shrouded in secrecy, but it represents one of the biggest construction efforts in Air Force history — and a new front in the fight against extremist militants on the African continent.

Welcome to Nigerien Air Base 201.

U.S. Africa Command on Nov. 1 announced that the new base in Agadez, Niger — designed to house armed drones and other aircraft that have been operating out of an international airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital — had begun flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that week.

Critically located in central Niger, Air Base 201 is positioned to strike terrorist groups and extremist militants — including fighters affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State — in countries throughout the Sahel region, which spans the width of the African continent south of the Sahara and includes parts of Mali, Sudan and Chad…

Read on.