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France asks US to keep up ‘critical’ military support in West Africa

Washington: France on Monday asked the United States to keep supporting its operations against Islamist extremists in West Africa, after the New York Times reported that the US is considering pulling out of the region.
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said she had raised the issue at a Washington meeting with her US counterpart Mark Esper, who is conducting a wide-ranging review of overseas commitments.
“I had the opportunity to tell [Esper] again... that the US support is critical to our operations and that its reduction would severely limit our effectiveness against terrorists,” Parly said.
French troops have been fighting Islamist extremist groups in West Africa’s Sahel region since 2013, at the invitation of national authorities who have struggled to contain the jihadists. (DPA)