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As French forces hit rebels in Mali, Paris wants to avoid Europe's Afghanistan (+video)

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Guindo has since left Sévaré with his wife and small child, telling the Monitor that “everyone is panicking.”

Few outside of Mali believe that the Malian military is capable of retaking the north on its own, but the army’s most recent performance has raised new
concerns about the ability of Mali’s military to hold on to the areas it does control.

According to Andrew Lebovich, a Senegal-based research who closely monitors events in neighboring Mali, "France is acutely concerned
about the situation in Mali. These new developments are particularly alarming, as they further demonstrate the state of the Malian military and the
deterioration of the security situation even in parts of the country under government control."

How best to tackle the crisis in Mali has been a matter of intense international debate ever since an alliance of separatist rebels and armed Islamist groups drove the Malian military from the country’s north in the wake of a military coup that toppled Mali’s democratically elected government last year.

In light of Thursday’s events, Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traoré, sent a request for more immediate assistance to Hollande and UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. France also convened an emergency session of the UN Security Council.

The UN has already approved the deployment of an African force to Mali in December, but troops are not expected to arrive until next September, and serious questions remain over who will oversee and pay for the mission.

The fall of Konna, however, has given greater weight to those calling for swift action. The European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, for example, is among the first to have found a renewed sense of urgency, releasing a statement calling for "enhanced and accelerated international engagement" in order to
“support the rapid deployment of the African-led international support mission to Mali."

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