Taliban slams French intervention in Mali

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iol pic afr french soldiers

REUTERS

French soldiers leave a hangar at the Malian army air base in Bamako.

Kabul -

Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents on Tuesday condemned France's military intervention in Mali, warning that it would have “disastrous” consequences.

France, which pulled its last combat troops out of Afghanistan in December, launched airstrikes on Friday to back the Malian army in an operation against Islamist rebels and is sending troops into the West African nation.

The Taliban said in a statement on their website that France should have learned lessons from the “failed” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“When France began its withdrawal process from Afghanistan in recent times it seemed as the French government would likely expand its anti-war stance to other regions of the world,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

“However it broke off its commitment to peace by transgressing militarily on the soil of northern African nation of Mali.

The Taliban Islamists have waged an 11-year war against US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and are undefeated as the foreign troops prepare to withdraw by the end of next year.

“France has launched war against the Muslim nation of Mali without having any legal jurisdiction,” the Taliban said, urging governments and global organisations to “stop such transgressions”.

The intervention will be “not only disastrous for Mali but also for France”, the statement said.

Islamist forces have already vowed revenge on France.

“France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France,” said Abou Dardar of the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) offshoot.

France has secured fresh UN backing for its military action in Mali and reinforced its ground forces with an armoured column after driving Islamists from their northern bases with air strikes.

A meeting of the 15-nation UN Security Council on Mali expressed unanimous “understanding and support” for the military intervention, France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters late on Monday.

Sapa-AFP


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