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Clinton hopes France 'will come forward' with more troops for surge

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday voiced hope that France would commit additional forces to a US-led troop surge in Afghanistan. But Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in the past has said there was no need to send more troops.

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AFP - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday voiced cautious hope that France would come up with more troops in Afghanistan as part of the new US-led strategy.

Clinton, who was in Brussels for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, said the transatlantic military alliance's chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, had hinted that France may be weighing additional support for Afghanistan.
   

"I don't know that, other than to look at the strong verbal support that the French have given us," Clinton said in an interview from Brussels with US public television network PBS.

"They do have significant numbers there now, but we hope that they will come forward."

France has 3,300 troops in Afghanistan and has welcomed the new US strategy on Afghanistan. But Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said there was no need to adjust France's troop levels.

President Barack Obama laid out a plan Tuesday to send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan but also to start pulling out forces in 2011.

Washington called on European allies and partners fighting alongside US troops in Afghanistan to find 5,000 to 7,000 soldiers to swell their ranks.

 

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