France is not backing down deploying more troops in Mali. . Despite threats from militants to attack French interests globally, France now has 1,800 troops on the ground in Mali. The first apparent retaliatory attack, came earlier in the week when al Qaeda-linked militants took dozens of foreigners hostage in Algeria, blaming Algerian cooperation with France France has pledged to keep troops on the ground until stability returns. For many, the French troops are a welcome sight.