French soldier killed near Kabul

A French soldier was killed when a mine exploded near Kabul, bringing the death toll of French troops killed in Afghanistan to 25. One of his colleagues was seriously injured in the blast.


A French soldier was killed and another seriously wounded Saturday in Afghanistan when a mine exploded some 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Kabul, an armed forces spokesman said in Paris.

"The explosion happened mid-morning, near the Darulaman camp south of Kabul during a reconnaissance on foot," naval captain Christophe Prazuck told AFP.

Prazuck said the two soldiers were demining specialists making their way towards a firing range. The wounded man was evacuated by helicopter to a nearby military hospital.

"He was operated on and his life is not in danger," he added.

The two soldiers were part of a team of French instructors attached to the Afghan army's 201st Corps.

The death brought to 24 the number of French troops killed serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan against Taliban insurgents.

President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed "emotion" at the incident, and expressed his condolences to the family and colleagues of the dead soldier, who was described in an official statement as a senior non-commissioned officer serving with the 3rd Engineeering Regiment.

A "deadly trap" had taken the life of a soldier supporting "France's commitment to the peace and security of the Afghan people," the statement said.

Sarkozy had "strongly condemned the cowardly and barbaric practices of the enemies of peace in Afghanistan and reaffirmed his determination to fight against terrorism," it added.

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