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French President Assures Afghanistan of Political, Military Support


French President Nicolas Sarkozy has held talks with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, during an unannounced visit to Kabul.

A statement from Mr. Karzai's office said that President Sarkozy has assured Afghanistan of long-term political and military support for the war torn country.

It said the two leaders also discussed, what the statement described as, the two main challenges in Afghanistan - poor security and opium production.

Mr. Sarkozy also will meet French troops serving in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. French troops are mostly based in and around Kabul.

Mr. Sarkozy's visit comes amid an escalation of Taliban violence in the country - mainly in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, a top U.S. commander said the Pentagon is reviewing its military strategies in Afghanistan to combat the rise in Taliban attacks.

Accompanying Mr. Sarkozy on the visit are French Defense Minister Herve Morin and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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