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KABUL, Dec. 22- French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was on a surprise visit to Afghanistan Saturday, emphasized his country would offer the war-torn country long-term political and military support, an Afghan official statement said.     Paying his first visit to Afghanistan since assuming French presidency in May 2007, Sarkozy arrived at Afghan capital Kabul Saturday morning and held talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai.

    “The French President emphasized on long-term political, military presence of his country on supporting Afghan people and government,” said a statement issued by Afghan presidential office after the meeting.

    Both presidents talked about the situation in Afghanistan and the region, the development of Afghanistan, different reconstruction fields and also the improvement of national infrastructure in the post-Taliban country, it said.

    “They talked about using internal resources to help Afghanistan to stand on its own feet and implementing of national projects such as producing energy, irrigation, and connecting Afghanistan through highways to countries in the region, and also the rural development,” the statement said.

    “These, they said, are important for Afghanistan’s prosperity,” it said.

    The two sides also emphasized on fighting against terrorism and narcotics, it added, “they said insecurity and cultivation of narcotics are two major challenges for Afghanistan.”

    Sarkozy, according to the statement, would meet French troops based in Kabul where the majority of around 1,300 French soldiers serving under the NATO flag are deployed.

    The statement did not reveal more about Sarkozy’s visit schedule, but some local sources said this is just a one-day visit.

    This year has been the bloodiest one since the 2001 Taliban fall in the Central Asian country where militancy-related violence and military conflicts have claimed over 6,000 lives since beginning of 2007.

    The Taliban, removed from power by a U.S.-led military invasion six years ago, has waged a years-long insurgency against the Afghan administration and continued to engage a guerrilla-style fighting with the government forces and the international troops besides launching roadside bombing and suicide blast attacks.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly called on the international community to continue their support till the war-ravaged country is able to stand on its own feet.

    During an interview with German newspaper Bild last week, Karzai said Afghanistan will need foreign troops for at least another decade.


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