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Sarkozy says no more troops for Afghanistan: report

world Updated: Oct 16, 2009 08:10 IST

AFP
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France will stay in Afghanistan but will not send any extra troops to the war-torn country, President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published on Friday.

"Do we need to stay in Afghanistan? I say yes. And stay to win. Not against Afghanistan, but for Afghanistan," Sarkozy told Le Figaro newspaper.

"If we leave, it is nuclear power Pakistan that will be threatened. But France will send not a single soldier more," he said.

Sarkozy said he was "convinced" more Afghan soldiers were needed to defeat the Taliban insurgency.

"They will be the most effective in winning this war because it is their country. But we need to pay them more to avoid desertions that benefit the Taliban," said the French president.

With 2,900 soldiers in Afghanistan, France is the fourth largest contributor to the NATO-led coalition battling Taliban guerrillas and training Afghan security forces, but it has repeatedly rejected pressure to send more troops.

Britain yesterday said it was sending an extra 500 soldiers to reinforce its 9,000-strong force in Afghanistan while US President Barack Obama is weighing a request for tens of thousands more US troops to deploy to the bloody conflict.

Sarkozy's interview comes after a British newspaper reported that 10 French soldiers had died in Afghanistan in August last year because Italy failed to inform them of a payoff deal with the Taliban.