Mali's foreign minister is urging international cooperation to root out extremists who littered the north of his country with land mines and pose a terrorist threat to the region and Europe.

Tieman Hubert Coulibaly spoke in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday in Paris, where he is discussing the 3-week-old French-led military intervention against al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali.

Land mine explosions killed four Malian soldiers and two civilians in northern Mali in recent days, and Coulibaly told AP: "Those who planted those mines there are barbarians."

He said that Mali's land mine problem shows "the large extent to which we need help."

He said his African country needs a strong military force to push out extremists who held northern Mali under harsh rule for nearly a year.