- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2021

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on President Joe Biden to increase the U.S.’ military commitment to combat Islamic extremists around the world. 

Defense and intelligence officials around the world have warned of potential new pockets of extremism in the Middle East and a growing threat in Africa’s Sahel region. 

In a New Year’s speech to the French military on Wednesday, Mr. Macron said he is “certain that in the coming weeks, the new [Biden] administration will need to make key decisions that will mark a greater commitment and awareness in the fight against terrorism” in Syria and Iraq.

The French leader urged the U.S. to increase its role in multilateral defense cooperation following former President Donald Trump’s recent move to drastically reduce the number of American forces stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Defense officials last week confirmed that the U.S. has reduced the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan from 13,000 at the start of 2020 to 2,500 as of Jan. 15. Former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said any further reductions would be “conditions based.” 

In his inaugural address Wednesday, Mr. Biden pledged to “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.”

“Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s,” he said. “We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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