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France says no more troops to Afghanistan

Jan. 29, 2010 at 1:49 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says France will not send more fighting troops to Afghanistan but could send some who can train police and army, CNN reported.

Speaking to CNN after a one-day meeting in London on Afghanistan, Kouchner repeated his country's opposition to adding more troops in support of the U.S. troop surge of 30,000.

"No more fighters. We are in charge. We don't want to send more troops to fight," he said.

France has 3,500 troops in Afghanistan. NATO and other allies promised to send 7,000 more troops after the U.S. troop surge was announced in December.

Kouchner noted Afghan President Hamid Karzai's plan to reintegrate moderate Taliban fighters into society but criticized Karzai's assessment that foreign forces need to stay in Afghanistan for up to 15 years. He said U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy includes plans to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the middle of next year.

"We don't have to accept such a long period of battle," Kouchner added. "We want to change the country and to fight against poverty and fight in favor of development."

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told CNN, "They (the Taliban) are losing momentum and if you draw people out towards a reconciliation process, this will break the momentum further."

He said Pakistan would be willing to assist in the reintegration effort.

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