Sarkozy reaffirms no combat troops for Afghanistan

09:47, January 26, 2010      

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed Monday that France will not send combat troops to Afghanistan but groups of trainers on a prime-time television appearance, days ahead the crucial Afghan conference to be held in Britain.

"It has been a year and a half since I demanded the parliament send 700 extra soldiers and I said no more troops, I am trying to stick to my engagement and words," Sarkozy said in a short interview with French political channel TF1.

"If we want to reinforce the training force for (Afghan army), to regulate Afghan police, to realize the work of civil security, then why not," Sarkozy added three days before the Afghanistan Conference to be held in London, the capital of Britain on Jan. 28.

NATO allies including France and Germany, the United Nations, representatives of Afghanistan and its neighbors will attend the international conference focusing on the future stability of Afghanistan.

The conference is crucial for France and Germany, which are reluctant to echo U.S. call for extra troops, to hammer out their future Afghan strategy.

"France will stay in Afghanistan because it concerns our own security," he reaffirmed.

Among 113,000 foreign troops under the United States and NATO command, there are about 3,500 French soldiers fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

As of this month, 39 French soldiers had died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led war in 2001. Therefore, like everywhere in NATO allies, the majority of French public are against the idea of deploying more young fighters in the battle zone.

On TF1, Sarkozy is debating face to face with 11 citizens from all walks of life over domestic reforms and international issues. It is his first television appearance in 2010 after New Year address on the last day of 2009.

Source: Xinhua
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