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France open to more training, aid for Afghanistan

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Dec 1, 2009
France could bolster its role in Afghanistan by providing more army and police training as well as reconstruction aid but is unlikely to send more troops, Defence Minister Herve Morin said late Monday.

The United States is asking European countries to contribute more troops to the Afghan mission and shore up President Barack Obama's new strategy to stabilise the country, eight years after the war was launched.

The French daily Le Monde reported on Monday that Washington had asked France to contribute 1,500 extra troops to Afghanistan.

Morin declined to comment on the specific figure from the report but confirmed "the United States is asking the Europeans for more troops."

"If there were to be an additional effort, the only effort that would make sense would be in terms of Afghan army and police training," said Morin.

"There cannot simply be a military response," he stressed, adding that the allies must also focus on "development the construction of Afghan institutions and improving governance."

"For us, building Afghan institutions is a key component of an exit strategy," he insisted.

President Nicolas Sarkozy asserted last month that France would send "not a single soldier more" to Afghanistan, but that it is committed to the mission.

Obama briefed Sarkozy and other world leaders by telephone on Monday and the French presidency said afterwards that training remained a priority for France.

With about 3,300 soldiers in Afghanistan, France is the fourth largest contributor to the NATO-led coalition battling the Taliban and training Afghan security forces.

Obama is expected to order between 30,000 and 35,000 more troops to bolster the US campaign in a nationwide televised address later Tuesday.

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Britain confirms 500 more troops for Afghanistan
London (AFP) Nov 30, 2009
Britain is to send an extra 500 troops to Afghanistan in December, tipping its deployment there over the 10,000 mark, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday The announcement of new troops to arrive from early December came the day before President Barack Obama is set to announce tens of thousands of more US troops for Afghanistan. Brown said Britain's extra troops would be accompanied ... read more

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