Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Tunisia's Parliament votes on new Government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

French court rules #burkini ban "clearly illegal"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Biden in Turkey, Colombia Peace Deal, Ethiopia Olympic Protest (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Earthquake in Italy, French Burkini Ruling (part 1)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

The hidden secrets of Les Invalides

Read more

FOCUS

Pro-Opposition stronghold Port-Gentil feverishly awaits presidential elections

Read more

ENCORE!

Alexis Michalik: treading the boards in the footsteps of 'Edmond'

Read more

REPORTERS

Getting away with murder in DR Congo

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Why does Italy refuse to see the seismic risk?'

Read more

France

Sarkozy honours French troops shot in Afghanistan

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-25

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday honoured the four French troops who were shot dead last week by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform. Their deaths have fuelled speculation that France may seek to accelerate its Afghan withdrawal.

AP - President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday honored four French troops shot dead by an Afghan man, a killing that rattled France’s commitment to a NATO-led war in Afghanistan unpopular among many French.

In a somber ceremony in the southeastern town of Varces, the French leader said the troops gunned down were victims of a Taliban rebel who had infiltrated a military base stationed jointly by French and Afghan forces.

“Four of our soldiers were shot in Afghanistan, victims of the most cowardly of crimes,” he said in remarks aired on French TV. “While unarmed, they were slaughtered by a Taliban wearing the uniform of an ally’s army.”

He noted the French troops were there to train Afghan soldiers.

“We will not allow ourselves to be impressed by this barbarity ... that must strengthen us even more in our determination to work for peace,” he added.

After Friday’s shootings, Sarkozy ordered a halt to French training programs for the Afghan military and threatened to withdraw French forces earlier than first planned.

But top French officials in recent days have sought to dispel concerns abroad about a possible crack in the NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan and a hasty exit by France.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament Tuesday that France is keeping to plans to withdraw 600 troops this year -- in line with a previous schedule pegged in part to a gradual U.S.-led withdrawal by 2014.

France currently has about 3,600 troops in Afghanistan. France, the fourth-largest national contingent in the NATO-led force, has lost 92 troops since 2001. The total alliance death toll is nearly 2,560 -- mostly Americans.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet, who traveled to Afghanistan right after the killings, is preparing a report for Sarkozy on what happened before the French leader specifies any new plans for the drawdown.

Sarkozy, who is facing a possible re-election bid this spring, is expected to publicize his decision on Friday after hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a long-scheduled meeting in Paris.
 

Date created : 2012-01-25

  • AFGHANISTAN

    France suspends Afghan mission after attack on troops

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    French tolerance dwindles over Afghan 'insider threat'

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Afghan soldier fatally shoots four French NATO troops

    Read more

COMMENT(S)