French President Francois Hollande’s campaign promise to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2012 is unchanged, at least to hear him tell it.
On a surprise visit to Afghanistan, Hollande announced that France is actually withdrawing just a little over half of their 3,400 troops from the nation, and will leave “around 1,400” troops in the country beyond the new year.
Taking a page out of President Obama’s playbook, Hollande will label the 1,400 troops “non-combat,” and insists that they will focus on training and logistics missions. It doesn’t appear that they are ruling out them taking a role in combat, however.
“We will still have a military force that will be dedicated to the training of Afghan army officers — that will also be present at the hospital, the airport and also will allow the Afghans to have a police force that is the most effective possible,” Hollande said, adding that “there will be further engagement.”
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