War

Hollande: France Remains in Mali Until Order is Restored

Could be a while

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France will end its intervention in Mali only once stability has returned to the West African country, French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday, raising the prospects of a costly, drawn-out operation against al Qaeda-linked rebels.

Paris has poured hundreds of soldiers into Mali and carried out air raids since Friday in the northern half of the country, which Western and regional states fear could become a base for attacks by Islamist militants in Africa and Europe.

Thousands of African troops are due to take over the offensive but regional armies are scrambling to accelerate the operation—initially not expected for months and brought forward by France's bombing campaign aimed at stopping a rebel advance on a strategic town last week.