France Announces Early Afghanistan Withdrawal Date

The announcement came just hours after four French soldiers were killed by a suicide attack

Verifying earlier reports, France troops in Afghanistan will begin an early withdrawal in July and complete it by the end of this year, French President Francois Hollande has said.

The confirmed early withdrawal date comes just hours after four French soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a Taliban suicide attack.

“It was an unfortunate incident. There was a patrol of coalition soldiers in a small bazaar and they were attacked by a suicide bomber wearing a burqa,” Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told Reuters.

France is currently the fifth largest contributor to NATO’s training force, with nearly 3,300 soldiers. These latest deaths bring the total number of French fatalities in the entire Afghan war to 87.

In January, four other French soldiers were killed, prompting then-President Nicolas Sarkozy to announce a withdrawal by the end of 2013. Pulling out by the end of 2012 was one of newly elected President Hollande’s campaign promises.

Virtually all those involved in the NATO effort in Afghanistan don’t want to be involved and see no constructive end to the war. France has been the only one other than Australia to announce an early withdrawal.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.