A Mali army official says Western countries should limit their participation in military operations against al-Qaida's North African offshoot.
Col. Yamoussa Camara said Wednesday that foreign forces should remain in the background _ providing training and equipment _ so Mali's armed forces can keep the support of their population.
Camara spoke during a G8 meeting in Mali on how to counter al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.
An AQIM faction is currently holding 7 hostages in northern Mali _ 5 French, a man from Togo and another from Madagascar _ and the French government said recently it had information that the group may be planning attacks in Europe.
In July, French forces participated in a raid with Mauritanian troops against AQIM on Malian soil.