Sarkozy announces 'gradual withdrawal' of troops from Afghanistan
Following US President Barack Obama’s announcement of a withdrawal of 33,000 US troops in Afghanistan, French President Nicolas Sarkozy released a statement saying that France would also begin a “gradual withdrawal” of its forces.
France will begin a "gradual withdrawal" of its troops in Afghanistan in line with the American strategy announced by US President Barack Obama Wednesday night, the French presidency announced in a statement on Thursday morning.
According to the statement from the Elysée Palace, Obama called Sarkozy to discuss their “common engagement in Afghanistan” before giving his address. “France shares the American analysis and objectives and is pleased about President Obama’s decision,” the statement read.
Obama’s announcement that the 33,000 additional US troops he ordered in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by the summer of 2012 indicates a shift in strategy following what the US president described as a fulfillment of many of the mission’s key goals.
After speaking with Obama, Sarkozy and his cabinet reaffirmed that France would “remain fully engaged with its allies alongside the Afghan people to see the transition process through,” according to the statement.
France currently has 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. 62 French soldiers have died in the mission since the end of 2001. Nine of those deaths have been this year, making 2011 one of the deadliest years for the French military in Afghanistan.
A full withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan is expected by summer of 2014.