French Anti-Tank Missiles Abandoned in Taliban Clash

A French unit was surrounded last weekend in Kapisa Province Afghanistan and had to withdraw from the field, leaving behind two anti-tank Milan missiles and a launcher. Journalists say no French soldiers were hurt in the clash, but “all 14 Taliban insurgents were killed.”

French Defense Minister Herve Morin sought to downplay the significance of the loss, saying “the essential thing is that everyone is alive,” and that it would be difficult for anyone to use the captured missiles “without proper training.”

Still unclear from the reports are how 14 Taliban surrounded 300 French soldiers, or why the forces had to withdraw after having killed all 14 insurgents. Even less clear is why the French paramilitary units were armed with anti-tank missiles in the first place. Though the Taliban had tanks at one point, they were seemingly all destroyed during the 2001 invasion, and not a single insurgent attack involving tanks has been reported in the years since then.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of