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Sarkozy annouces early withdraw of French fighting forces from Afghanistan

04-10-2012 15:00 BJT

PARIS, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday said France would pull its fighting forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2013, a year earlier than the previous schedule.

"We have decided in a common accord with President Karzai to ask NATO to consider a total handling of NATO combat missions to the Afghan army over the course of 2013," Sarkozy said.

The development came after a presumed Afghan soldier killed four French soldiers and injured several others last week bringing the total fatalities of French soldiers in Afghanistan to 82 since 2001.

"The gradual transfer of responsibility allows us to plan the return of all of our fighting force at the end of 2013," Sarkozy said after an one-hour meeting with Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

However, the French president added that hundreds of French soldiers would stay in Afghanistan for training, and that logistical missions and France would commit to civil cooperation with Kabul after 2014.

Last year, Sarkozy had announced a phased withdrawal of troops from the restless region and planned to bring home the last French soldier by 2014. A quarter of the troops were expected to return to France by the end of 2012.

"Resumption of (suspended) training missions of the Afghan army led by the French army will be effective from tomorrow," Sarkozy announced.

France will transfer the security of Kapisa in northeast of Afghanistan where French troops were based to Afghan forces from March 2012, Sarkozy said.

About 3,600 French soldiers are deployed on Afghan territories as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help local authorities restore security and crack down Taliban insurgents.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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