"If we leave, there is a major risk of contagion in this crisis arc. Pakistan...has nuclear weapons. We must therefore revise our strategy, particularly by focusing less on the Taliban and more on the population. We must manage to create conditions of trust with the population so that the people cooperate with coalition forces and not with the Taliban."And:
"If we leave, we make Afghanistan the base for terrorism. Our compatriots must keep in mind that, around the world, every day, thanks to cooperation between intelligence services, we stop terrorist plots and curtail terrorist networks. This is the main threat. "In the interview, Morin apparently also discussed the need for benchmarks for withdrawal, casting them as a tool to educate the public (and presumably build support for continued support). Mostly though, he said that leaving would mean a lot of wasted effort. He specifically mentions the roads built, the children put in school etc and argues that if France leaves all of that would be for naught.
So it seems the Minister has the basics down on COIN but it's still not a terribly sophisticated discussion. An important thing to remember though is that French policy, until last year's Defense White Paper, (and ensuing legislation) did not mandate parliamentary consultation for deploying forces overseas. Indeed, that required a mere presidential notification to the lower house. What does that mean? That the French executive branch is still learning how to justify its decisions. It's going to have to get better at it though because the laws that were passed following the publication of the White Paper say that the lower house must periodically re-authorize deployments .