Defense News - France
|Saturday, January 28, 2012, 10:10 AM|
|France has decided to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013.|
France will gradually pull its combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2013, President Nicolas Sarkozy said, speeding up the withdrawal of NATO’s fourth-largest contingent in the Asian country. France will leave a “few hundred” soldiers in Afghanistan in 2014 to help train the Afghan army, he said.
French soldiers from the 27ème bataillon de chasseurs alpins and French Task Force Tiger patrol the many valleys of Kapisa province, Afghanistan. (Archive image)
Sarkozy’s decision was announced after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Paris, where the leaders discussed the French military’s future in the country after Afghan soldiers killed five French soldiers in two incidents within the past month. France previously had planned to follow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s calendar of a withdrawal of all foreign troops during 2014.
“We are not an occupation force,” Sarkozy said. “We have confidence in the ability of President Karzai.”
Sarkozy said he’d ask NATO to consider passing control of all combat missions to the Afghan National Army by the end of 2013. France has 3,900 troops in Afghanistan, and 82 have been killed since their arrival in 2001, the fourth-highest death toll after the U.S., Britain and Canada.