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Sarkozy to keep French troops in Afghanistan

world Updated: Jan 08, 2010 20:31 IST

AP
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy is defending the French military force in Afghanistan, saying now is not the time to pull out. Sarkozy is not saying, though, that France will send more troops, as US allies have urged.

Sarkozy said Friday, in a New Year's speech to the French military, that "we should continue to help Afghans until they are in a position to assure their own security and development." He said the conditions for a withdrawal "have not been met."

Sarkozy discussed overall military plans for 2010 as he spoke to a unit that lost five soldiers in Afghanistan last year France is reducing its troop strength in Kosovo on Friday from 1,300 to 800 as part of a reorganization of the international force.