One French soldier was killed and nine others wounded when the convoy they were travelling in came under an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan early on Friday. France has 2,900 troops in the NATO coalition in Afghanistan.
AFP - A French soldier was killed and nine others wounded when a booby trap exploded against their armoured personnel carrier as they carried out reconnaissance in Afghanistan, officials said Friday.
Several soldiers were "seriously wounded" in the blast in the Showki region north of the Afghan capital Kabul, President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement in which he expressed condolences to the victims' families.
France has some 2,900 troops in the NATO-led international coalition battling Taliban guerrillas and attempting to train Afghanistan's national security forces to take the lead in the eight-year-old conflict.
According to Sarkozy, the soldiers were members of the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment, which is based in the port of Vannes in Brittany. They were attacked in an area between the coalition bases in Nijrab and Bagram.
"The president ... strongly condemned this blind violence and expressed France's determination to continue to work to re-establish peace and development in Afghanistan," a statement said.
France has now lost 30 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001.
"An infantry section and some engineers, around 50 men, had gone to inspect a route to ensure the safety of a logistics convoy when the explosion took place," French military spokesman Admiral Christophe Prazuck said.
"The IED (improvised explosive device) hit one of the seven VAB armoured personnel carriers in the convoy. The nine wounded, four of them in a serious condition, were taken by helicopter to Bagram and Kabul," he said.
The year 2009 has already been a record-breaking year for foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the US-led bid to oust the Taliban began following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
According to the independent Internet site icasualities.org, more than 300 coalition soldiers have lost their lives since the beginning of the year, up from 294 in 2008.
Date created : 2009-09-04