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French Defence Minister, families on Afghan mourning trip

Latest update : 2008-09-12

French Defense Minister Hervé Morin arrived in Afghanistan accompanied by seventeen relatives of French soldiers killed in an August 18 ambush that shocked France and sparked a heated debate about the country's involvement in Afghanistan.

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Seventeen relatives of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan arrived in the country Friday accompanied by French Defence Minister Herve Morin, the French military said.

The relatives, invited by President Nicolas Sarkozy to go to Afghanistan as part of the mourning process, arrived by military flight, a French military officer said.

Details of their programme would not be released until after they had left the country later Friday.

They had also asked that no pictures be taken during the trip.

Seven of the families on the visit had lost a loved one during an August 18 ambush in Sarobi east of Kabul, an attack which killed 10 French soldiers, and three were parents of soldiers killed in 2006 and 2007.

The ambush was the deadliest ground attack on international troops since they arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the hardline Taliban regime and the heaviest toll for the French military in 25 years.

Of the ten troops killed, one of them was stabbed to death, while 21 were also wounded, in an attack that has shocked France and sparked debate about French involvement in war-torn Afghanistan.

France has lost a total of 24 soldiers in Afghanistan where its troops are serving in the NATO-led force.

 

Date created : 2008-09-12