French troops kill 'several hundred' Islamist militants in Mali, official says
[FOXNEWS] Hundreds of Islamist militants have been killed in Mali by French troops, France's defense minister said.
Feel-good story of the day!
Jean-Yves Le Drian said "several hundred" militants died in airstrikes on vehicles carrying fighters and during combat with French forces, resulting in "great damage on the jihadist terrorist groups," the BBC reports.
How's that "Lions of the Desert" thing working out for ya?
It is unclear how France came up with the death total, but the country says only one of its own -- a helicopter pilot -- has died since its Jan. 11 intervention.
That's... ummm... a 1:a whole bunch kill ratio.
France has around 4,000 troops on the ground in Mali alongside forces from the African Union, while it estimates that the Islamist groups are 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 fighters strong, the BBC reports.
And dwindling, I hope.
France, fearing Mali was becoming a haven for international terrorists, became involved in the conflict after Islamist extremists started moving toward the capital.
Brilliant move on the turbans' part. Up until then the International Community™ was dithering as usual.
President Francois Hollande said Wednesday France may start pulling out its troops out of Mali at the end of March.
Good idea. Kick ass. Take names. Then it's Miller time. If they come back, do it again. Beats hell out of Nation Building™.
Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the pullout will depend on an increase in the deployment of African forces, who are meant to take over the international effort to secure Mali and help its weak army keep the peace.
Along with, no doubt, a bunch of ineffective UN Peacekeepers.
French forces are now clashing with Islamist militants who have been firing rocket launchers in the northern Malian city of Gao.
"Vous, there, with the RPG! [BANG!]"
"Droppez le rocket launcher and step away avec yer hands up!"
"He's dead, Jean-Luc!"

Jean-Yves Le Drian said French aircraft are continuing airstrikes every night on suspected militant arms depots and mine-making sites.
Not all that many good hiding places out there on the burning sands, are there? Especially if part of your allies have now switched sides.
Malian soldiers on Wednesday found a stash of industrial-strength explosives in Gao that can be used to make roadside bombs. Soldiers, patrolling on foot, made the discovery after a local official alerted them to the scene.
It helps when the locals can't stand the enemy.
A News Agency that Dare Not be Named reporting team also viewed the stash of Nitram 5, which had been hidden inside rice bags that were dumped in a small square with other garbage from the town.
Kinda makes you wonder where that kind of stuff comes from, and who pays for it.
There have been concerns of a counterinsurgency in the weeks since French troops took over the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, especially after four Malian soldiers were killed when a land mine went off near their vehicle.
Actually, there are concerns of an insurgency. Counterinsurgency is putting the insurgency down. Insurgents are the guys hiding explosives in rice bags.
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-07