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France

French army to stay in Afghanistan, says Defence Minister

media L'ancien ministre de la Défense, au palais de l'Elysée en juillet 2010 Reuters

The French Defence Minister said Tuesday that the French army has to stay in Afghanistan. His comments come after the Netherlands pulled out its troops this weekend.

“The French army had to stay in Afghanistan, because there is no other solution,” said
Hervé Morin in an interview on French radio.

“If we were not in Afghanistan, Afghanistan would collapse again,” he said, adding that stability in the region depends on stability in Afghanistan.

France has about 4,000 troops in the country.

Morin said he hoped to be able to start withdrawing by next year and transferring “a certain number of zones to the Afghans”.

The Dutch mission in Afghanistan ended on Sunday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that France would be staying in Afghanistan for a while yet during Bastille Day celebrations this year.

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