As the French-led offensive against Islamist militants in Mali advances, diplomats and intelligence officials in Paris are beginning to tamp down expectations that eliminating al-Qaeda-linked extremism in the region can be achieved anytime soon. Despite the military operation continuing to inflict heavy losses on jihadi combatants hunkered down in northern Mali's mountainous border area, they say, the amorphous terrorist threat those extremists pose makes full military victory a relative notion.
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