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French soldier killed, two wounded in fighting

Video by Claire BILLET

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-01

One French soldier was killed and two others wounded in a firefight in north-eastern Afghanistan Saturday, according to the French presidential office.

One French soldier was killed and two others wounded in a gunfight in north-eastern Afghanistan Saturday, according to the French presidential office.

The attack took place in the Ghayne valley in Kapisa province, where French soldiers have been battling Taliban insurgents.

Reporting from Kabul, FRANCE 24’s Claire Billet said the attack occurred Saturday morning during a joint operation by French and Afghan troops to try to secure the villages in the Ghayne valley.

“It was an operation to show their presence in the area, and they got attacked by around 40 Taliban rebels,” said Billet.

A 22-year-old French soldier, who has not been identified, was hit and died of the injury, according to Billet.

The other two wounded soldiers were being treated in the French military hospital in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Their condition is stable, according to Billet.

In a communiqué released Saturday, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office condemned the attack.

"The president learned with deep regret of the death today of a French soldier in Afghanistan," the statement said.

French troops are serving in Afghanistan under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

The violence in Afghanistan has spiralled in recent weeks in the run-up to the August 20 Afghan presidential and provincial elections. Last month was the deadliest for international troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 fall of the Taliban.

France has lost 29 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001, according to the French presidential office.

Date created : 2009-08-01

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