June 10, 2012 in Nation/World

Four French troops killed by bomber in Afghanistan

Laura King Los Angeles Times
 
Drawdown starts in July

 Recently elected French President Francois Hollande campaigned on a promise to pull all of France’s combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

 France now has 3,400 troops and 150 gendarmes in Afghanistan.

 Last month, Hollande announced that 2,000 combat troops would be withdrawn, but around 1,400 soldiers would be left to help with training and logistics. Hollande said Saturday that the drawdown of French troops in Afghanistan will begin in July.

KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan killed four French troops and injured five others Saturday, French and Afghan officials said, deaths that increased pressure on an already wavering NATO ally.

The new French president, Francois Hollande, told North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies last month at a summit in Chicago that France would end its combat role this year, two years ahead of schedule, rebuffing appeals to stay in the fight longer.

Support for the Afghan war, already waning in France, slipped sharply after four French troops were killed in January by an Afghan soldier, one in a series of “green on blue” attacks by Afghans against Western mentors.

The attack Saturday occurred in Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul, the main area of operations for French forces. Provincial officials said the bomber approached a joint Afghan-French patrol in the village of Pul-e-Khwaja in the Nijrab district and detonated explosives.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force confirmed the deaths of four Western troops in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, without specifying their nationalities or the location.


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