French Defence Minister Herve Morin (pictured) arrived in Kabul on Wednesday for talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a New Year's visit with French soldiers serving in the NATO-led force stationed in the country.
AFP - French Defence Minister Herve Morin arrived in Kabul Wednesday for a New Year's visit with French soldiers in the multinational, NATO-led force helping Afghanistan fight an extremist insurgency.
Morin was due to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai later Wednesday, said an AFP reporter travelling with the minister, and would visit a French-funded mother-and-children's hospital in the capital.
He will also take part in a military outreach operation with Afghan civilians and join French troops at one of their forward operating bases for the New Year's Eve celebration.
On Thursday Morin is due to fly to a large military base outside the southern city of Kandahar, where France has stationed six Mirage 2000 fighter jets to support US and NATO-led troops on the ground.
France is the fourth-largest contributor to the international military force in Afghanistan with more than 3,000 troops deployed around Kabul and in forward bases in the east of the country.
In mid-December Morin said France had no plans to increase its contingent in the country, but would redeploy its troops in Kabul as Afghan forces took responsibility for security of the capital.
Date created : 2008-12-31