Emmanuel Macron has ordered French troops to begin to wind down combat operations in Mali after a long-running counter-insurgency operation. French soldiers have been battling jihadist insurgents in the West African country for nearly ten years. Now President Macron has ordered Frances’ thousands of troops out, some experts fear Mali may suffer the “same fate” as Afghanistan which quickly fell to the Taliban after US support was withdrawn.
RT presenter Charlotte Dubenskij said: “Parallels have been drawn with the US leaving Afghanistan.
“Those chaotic scenes in Kabul which quickly saw the Taliban fill the void.
“Some fear that this has emboldened jihadists in places like Mali and they too will be looking to capitalise on a French withdrawal.”
It comes as foreign relations experts warn the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has given Jihadist groups around the world “a shot in the arm.”
Professor Gerald Horne told RT: “The Afghanistan fiasco was a shot in the arm to religious zealots all over the world.
“You see that clearly in Afghanistan.
“Where now the Taliban regime has been gifted millions if not billions of dollars and military material that they are now using to suppress their internal foes.
“If we are not careful the same thing fate might await Mali and its neighbours.”
Last month President Macron was slapped down by presidential rival candidate Xavier Bertrand for his “naivety” over the threats posed by Islamic extremists operating in Mali and elsewhere.
Speaking to French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Mr Bertrand described the French leader’s decision to pull out of Mali as showing a “form of recklessness.”
He said: “Given the dramatic conditions of the American withdrawal, France lacked leadership. The Taliban’s seizure of power in Kabul is a turning point for the world order and a tragedy for the Afghans. I am thinking particularly of the situation of women.
“We can’t forget the sacrifice of 90 French soldiers who died in combat in Afghanistan, which made it possible to protect our country against potential terrorist attacks.
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“Now that the first emergency measures to repatriate our compatriots and those who have helped us there have been taken, we must be very clear with the new Afghan leaders: if Afghanistan becomes again the rear base for anti-Western terrorism, if barbarism is developing there again, massive and rapid sanctions will be needed.
“For five years, Emmanuel Macron has shown a confusing naivety on this issue,” he added.
“He doesn’t understand the threat that radical Islamism poses to our security and our values.
“Radical Islamism is not a religion, it is an ideology which, on a global scale, wants to destroy our vision of the world, our identity, what France is: freedoms, women’s rights, the right to believe in the God of one’s choice or not to believe, the right to choose what you do and who you love.”