Four French soldiers have reportedly been killed in Afghanistan ahead of an early withdrawal by France from the country amid rising violence.
A statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed in a statement that four troops were killed in the eastern province of Kapisa, Reuters reported, without specifying their nationality.
The area is mainly patrolled by a French NATO contingent; France is the fifth biggest contributor to the ISAF force.
The killing of four French soldiers in Kapisa in January prompted then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to announce a withdrawal by the end of 2013, BBC reported.
Francois Hollande, who succeeded Sarkozy last month brought the pullout forward a further 12 months, two years ahead of the main NATO pullout.
Reuters quoted the provincial police chief, Abdul Rahman, as saying: "I am aware of a suicide attack on French troops in Kapisa but I don't know the number of casualties."
Meanwhile, Khaama Press cited Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as saying at least 12 French troops were killed in an explosion.
The BBC cited Taliban insurgents as saying that the attack Saturday was carried out by a suicide bomber, with Afghan officials telling the broadcaster that the bomber approached a French NATO convoy wearing a burqa.
Meanwhile, violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent weeks since the fighting season began.
The Taliban is targeting mainly Afghan government and security forces, as well as the 130,000 foreign troops still in the country.
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