Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

Asia-pacific

French defence minister in Kabul after attack on troops

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-21

French Defence Minister Gérard Longuet arrived in Kabul for high-level talks on Saturday as France suspended its mission in Afghanistan and weighed an early withdrawal after French troops were killed by an Afghan soldier.

AFP - France remains committed to bringing stability to Afghanistan, its defence minister said Saturday after Paris threatened to accelerate its troop withdrawal following the deaths of four soldiers.

"The entire point of this visit is to assess the position that we have to take," Gerard Longuet told reporters after flying into the Afghan capital for talks with President Hamid Karzai and US commander General John Allen.

Afghan Taliban say recruited soldier who killed French troops

The Afghan Taliban said on Saturday they had recruited an Afghan soldier who shot dead four French soldiers in the country's east a day earlier, prompting France to threaten an early pullout from the NATO-led war.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has recruited people in important positions. Some of them have already accomplished their missions," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by telephone, using another name the Islamist group call themselves. (Reuters)
 

"The mission remains exactly the same, to bring about a stable force" and "to handover" to the Afghans, the minister said. "We must reflect in order to support a mission that is a success."

Asked about the possibility of an early French withdrawal from the 10-year conflict against the Taliban, Longuet said only: "I'll talk about that with the president, he's my only boss."

At Kabul airport, the minister met some of the French soldiers who were seriously wounded in Friday's attack by an Afghan soldier shortly before they were to be evacuated to France.

He said the men were victims of the trust they had in Afghan soldiers they were training at the base where one of them opened fire. It was the second time in less than a month that French soldiers had been targeted by Afghan soldiers.

"They didn't have a chance. This was murder," said Longuet.

The minister is due to brief President Nicolas Sarkozy on steps being taken by the Afghans to guarantee security conditions for the French trainers.

Sarkozy has said that without such conditions being clearly established, he will raise the prospect of an early return of the French army.

Nineteen unarmed French soldiers were killed or wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire as they finished working out on a training base in Kapisa in eastern Afghanistan.

Sarkozy immediately suspended French military training and joint combat operations with Afghan troops.

The French role in the NATO-led mission is unpopular at home and -- less than 100 days before presidential elections -- Sarkozy appears to be preparing the ground for a rapid withdrawal.

The French force currently in Afghanistan will be reduced to 3,000 by late 2012, with 200 due to leave in March. NATO is due to hand security over to Afghan forces before withdrawing all its combat troops by the end of 2014.
 

Date created : 2012-01-21

  • AFGHANISTAN

    France suspends Afghan mission after attack on troops

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Afghan soldier fatally shoots four French NATO troops

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Rogue Afghan soldier kills two French NATO troops

    Read more

COMMENT(S)