Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria

Read more

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues internet giants

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Freed French Hostages - Celebration and Speculation on how it all happened

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shocking revelations on South Korean ferry disaster provoke scathing editorials

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Olivier Poussier, winner, world's best sommelier (2000)

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Justine Dupont, surfer

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Peugeot-Citroën hopes for sales boost at Beijing auto show

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over 'shoe-shine scandal'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - April 18th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

  • Boston readies for first marathon since bombings

    Read more

  • Deadly shootout in eastern Ukraine threatens Geneva deal

    Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

France

France ends final Afghan combat mission

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-11-20

France's final combat mission in Afghanistan drew to an end Tuesday as part of President François Hollande's commitment to an early withdrawal of troops. Around 1,500 French soldiers will remain into 2013 to help train the Afghan army.

France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan on Tuesday, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country.
              
Paris has said all French combat soldiers will leave next month, two years before allied nations contributing to the 100,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the United States are due to depart.
              
Around 1,500 French soldiers will stay into 2013 to take responsibility for repatriating equipment and training the Afghan army to take over when all NATO combat troops leave in 2014.
              
France joined the NATO coalition in late 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States to topple the Taliban which had given refuge to Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network.
              
But despite 11 years of fighting, a resilient Taliban insurgency has led to warnings of a return to civil war or the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan after 2014.
              
An AFP correspondent saw the last 400 soldiers deployed in Kapisa province start to leave Nijrab, the last French base outside Kabul, at 10:00 am (0530 GMT) after a departure ceremony.
              
France has lost 88 soldiers in Afghanistan and has been the fifth largest contributor to ISAF, behind the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.
              
Kapisa, which straddles key transit routes from Pakistan to the Afghan capital, has been the deadliest French mission in Afghanistan, accounting for 60 of total French fatalities.
              
Troops moved into the province in 2008 and clashes with the Taliban and militia quickly increased.
              
French and Afghan commanders say Kapisa has stabilised, but have been unable to provide supporting statistics and attacks have continued.
              
"I have not seen terrain recaptured by the insurgency in this zone," said General Olivier de Bavinchove, the French commander in Afghanistan.
              
Two out of six Kapisa districts are thought to be at least partly controlled by insurgents.
              
Kapisa security will now be the responsibility of 4,700 Afghan police and soldiers, supported by 250 American soldiers, according to General Eric Hautecloque-Raysz, the French commander in Kapisa and nearby district Surobi.
              
He says he is optimistic about the capacity of Afghan troops. "The insurgency is 10 times less than the (Afghan) security forces. Therefore, they cannot be beaten," he said.
              
Paris decided to accelerate its withdrawal after a string of deadly attacks in 2011 and 2012.
              
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy first announced that the combat mission would end in 2013, but successor, Français Hollande, brought that forward to the end of 2012.
              
Of the 2,200 French soldiers left in Afghanistan, a military official said that about 700 would return to France by the end of the year.
              
Around 50 trainers will remain in Wardak province, west of Kabul, and 1,500 in the Afghan capital, where most will be tasked with organising the final departure of French troops by the summer of 2013.
              
After that date, only several hundred French soldiers involved in cooperation or training missions will remain in the country, the military official said.
              
(AFP)

Date created : 2012-11-20

  • AFGHANISTAN

    French soldier killed, another wounded in Afghanistan

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    France hands over base in early Afghan withdrawal

    Read more

  • Afghanistan

    France hands over key Afghan province in troop withdrawal

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)