French President Jacques Chirac says his country has doubts about deploying international security troops in areas of Afghanistan, outside the capital, Kabul.
Mr. Chirac said France is not convinced that the presence of such troops beyond Kabul would be appropriate because it could be seen as interference in Afghan internal affairs. But the French leader said his country supports the idea of extending the stay of the 520 French troops among the 45-hundred peacekeepers in Kabul beyond their current six-month mandate. He spoke at a joint news conference in Paris with visiting Afghanistan interim leader Hamid Karzai.
Earlier, the two leaders stopped at the Guimet Asian Arts museum where they toured an exhibition of Afghan art.
The Afghan leader will meet with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine before concluding his two-day visit Friday.