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Sarkozy calls for security meeting after troops killed

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called a meeting on Friday to discuss new security measures for troops in Afghanistan after five French soldiers were killed there on Wednesday. Sarkozy plans a complete French withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014.

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REUTERS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday called for a special meeting to discuss new security measures for soldiers in Afghanistan, a day after France suffered its biggest one-day troop loss since 2008.

"I will convene a security meeting ... to reorganise the new security conditions for our soldiers in this period of transition that opens from today and the departure of French troops from Afghanistan," Sarkozy said.

Five French soldiers were killed after a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and four others were seriously injured.

Speaking ahead of the traditional July 14 military parade Sarkozy said the prime minister, defence minister and the armed forces chief would attend the meeting to take stock of Wednesday's attack.
"There is a new context and to face this new context, we need new security measures," he added.

He did not give more details.

Sarkozy, who visited Afghanistan on Tuesday, detailed his plan to withdraw 1,000 troops by the end of 2012, ahead of a complete pullout in 2014.

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in late 2001. More than 2,500 foreign troops have died in Afghanistan since the war began almost 10 years ago.

Wednesday's attack on the French troops was the worst since 2008 when 10 soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a battle against Taliban insurgents.

France has 4,000 troops in Afghanistan and has now seen 69 of its soldiers killed since it joined the U.S. and NATO-led Afghanistan operations in 2001.

 

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