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Tipsheet

<i>Quelle Surprise</i>: Sarkozy Says No More French Troops For Afghanistan War

France will not send "a single soldier more" to fight in Afghanistan, though troops already deployed as part of the NATO-led coalition will remain there, President Nicolas Sarkozy told a
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French newspaper on Thursday.

Sarkozy claimed it was "necessary" to win in Afghanistan, but was unwilling to continue supporting the war efforts with French troops.  Instead, the French President insists the Afghan troops fighting the Taliban need pay increases:

"[Afghan forces] 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.

France currently has 3,000 troops in the NATO-led coalition battling the Taliban and training Afghan security forces. So far, 36 French soldiers have been killed since 2001.

Sarkozy's comment came just after a call by NATO’s commander to send more troops to the restive southern region of Afghanistan.

“To really complete the ‘shape, clear, hold, build,’ we need at least two additional brigades of coalition forces, somewhere between 10,000 or 15,000 troops,” Major General Mart de Kruif, NATO’s commander in the region, told AFP in an interview on Thursday.

In order to clear other areas in the south, such as the Helmand province, “we absolutely need additional forces,” reiterated de Kruif.

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Britain announced yesterday it would send an additional 500 soldiers to Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, U.S. commanders on the ground requested more troops from President Obama more than a month ago and are still waiting for a White House reponse...

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