Conflict & Justice

France to pull Afghanistan troops starting in July


A file picture taken on December 13, 2008 shows an Afghan woman (L) holding her child as a boy looks up at French soldiers as they patrol in the village of Surobi, some 60 Kms east of Kabul. The French president's office on Saturday confirmed that four French soldiers were killed and five were wounded in an attack claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan's eastern Kapisa province.


Joel Saget

President Francois Hollande has announced France will start pulling its troops out of Afghanistan next month.

Hollande made the comments just hours after the Taliban killed four French soldiers, wounding five others, reported the BBC.

The attack "by a suicide bomber wearing a burqa" occurred in the eastern mountainous Kapisa province, an area mostly controlled by French troops serving in the NATO coalition, according to Reuters

One of Hollande's election pledges was for French troops to exit by the end of 2012. The announcement means the French will now leave two years before the main NATO pullout, wrote the BBC.

Currently there are 130,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban has been targeting both Afghan and international forces and the country has seen increased violence over the past few weeks.

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Agence France Presse reported Hollande said France would pay "national homage" to the dead with Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian heading to Afghanistan on Sunday.

Hollande said "what happened does not change anything, it neither accelerates nor delays" withdrawal plans. The nation has some 3,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan.