French soldiers on patrol in Kabul (file photo) (AFP)
PRAGUE, September 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- France has ruled out dispatching troops to southern Afghanistan to help its NATO allies fight militants there.
In comments aired by Radio France Internationale on September 21, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said France had already sent army reinforcements to Afghanistan when it assumed command of operations in Kabul and surrounding areas.
She said withdrawing troops from the Afghan capital to send them to the south was "out of the question."
Alliot-Marie said she believed other countries could contribute troop reinforcements.
She also described the security situation in Kabul as "stabilized," though "extremely fragile."
France currently contributes some 1,100 troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
They are based in Kabul, Kunduz, Mazar-e Sharif, and Herat.