French shouldn’t quit

Friday February 8 2013

The French forces are about to throw in the towel in Mali in an attempt to avoid a long-drawn, costly war.

They shouldn’t. Not when the reason why they went to the West African country – the seizure of vast territory by Al-Qaeda-linked militants – has not resulted in a decisive military defeat for the rebels.

France has already asked the United Nations to send in peacekeepers, and the Security Council is likely to agree.

It is also true that the Ecowas forces that had been pledged to fight the insurgents are being gradually deployed.

But since the rebels just melted away into the desert, there is a likelihood that after the French leave, they will just re-emerge from the caves and devastate the territory again.

This must not be allowed to happen. Of course it is easy to understand why the French would want out fast.

Their experience in Afghanistan has taught them that trying to secure such territory is more difficult than defeating the enemy.

But still, they should hang on a little longer until they wear down the insurgents.