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Sarkozy warns that Pakistan also at stake in Afghan campaign

Sarkozy warns Iran it risks 'catastrophe' of Israeli strike
French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned Iran on Thursday that its determination to press on with its controversial nuclear drive risked an Israeli strike that would be a "catastrophe." "Iran is taking a major risk by continuing the process of seeking nuclear technology for military ends," Sarkozy said at a four-way summit in Damascus with the leaders of Syria, Qatar and Turkey. "Because one day, no matter which Israeli government is in power, one morning we will awake to find Israel has attacked," Sarkozy said on the second day of a landmark visit to Syria. "It's not a question of whether it is legitimate or intelligent or not... It would be a catastrophe, and we must avoid such a catastrophe." Iran has consistently denied that its nuclear programme is aimed at building an atomic bomb and says it wants only to generate energy for its growing population. But Tehran risks a fourth round of UN sanctions over its failure to abide by international calls to freeze uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but can also be used to build the core of a nuclear weapon.
by Staff Writers
Damascus (AFP) Sept 4, 2008
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday that pulling out of Afghanistan, where 10 French troops were killed by the Taliban last month, would amount to abandoning nuclear-armed Pakistan.

"If we abandon Afghanistan we will be abandoning Pakistan, which doesn't need that. I want to remind you of one thing: that Pakistan has the nuclear bomb," he told reporters before winding up a visit to the Syrian capital.

"I want to say to the French that my conviction has not changed," he said.

A Taliban ambush followed by intense fighting in the Sarobi district near the Afghan capital Kabul on August 18 and 19 left 10 French soldiers dead and 21 wounded.

The attack prompted a public outcry in France, with some calling for the immediate withdrawal of the 3,000 French troops serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

"If almost all democracies are down there, if (US presidential candidate) Barack Obama has made the presence in Afghanistan the centrepiece of his election campaign... he must have a good reason," Sarkozy said.

"Our soldiers, by fighting terrorists down there, are protecting us here. We must understand that terrorism is a global movement."

Last month's attack near Kabul shocked France, with Sarkozy travelling to Afghanistan immediately afterwards. It prompted calls for more reconnaissance and intelligence gathering in operations.

About 70,000 international troops are fighting alongside Afghans against Taliban insurgents whose regime was ousted in a US-led invasion launched after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States.

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Pakistan officials say troops kill at least 15 in cross-border raid
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) Sept 3, 2008
Pakistan said at least 15 people were killed in a cross-border raid by Afghan-based international forces on Wednesday, warning that the attack may "fuel the fire of hatred and violence."

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