(PARIS) — Facing Islamist fighters determined to overrun the country, the French government is on the verge of deploying more troops to the North African country of Mali.
The militants have already taken large swaths of northern Mali and seem poised to enter the capital city of Bamako but French airstrikes are preventing that from happening for now.
France currently has a force of about 1,700 in Mali, with 800 actual soldiers on the ground. The goal is to bolster Mali government troops while waiting for thousands of soldiers from West Africa.
While stressing that his country has no plans to remain in Mali permanently, French President Francois Hollande is ordering the deployment of more troops to keep the Islamists at bay while awaiting the African peacekeeping force.
The U.S., which has had a counterterrorism operation going on in Mali for several years, says it will continue providing France with intelligence findings from spy planes and drones.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN