News / Europe

France Suspends Afghan Military Operations After Troop Deaths

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy says he is suspending training operations in Afghanistan and threatening to withdraw the entire force from the country early, after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops Friday and wounded several others,
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy says he is suspending training operations in Afghanistan and threatening to withdraw the entire force from the country early, after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops Friday and wounded several others,
Lisa Bryant

France has suspended its military operations in Afghanistan and may withdraw its force from that country after an Afghan soldier shot dead four French troops and wounded several others.

The French government has described Friday's attack against the soldiers as an assassination. French officials say an Afghan soldier killed the four troops during a training exercise at a base jointly operated by French and Afghan forces in the eastern province of Kapisa. Several other soldiers were wounded.

NATO Troops Killed by Afghan Forces

  • January 8, 2012: Afghan soldier kills American Soldier in the south.
  • December 29, 2011: Afghan soldier kills two French Foreign Legion members in eastern Afghanistan.
  • November 9, 2011: Afghan soldier opens fire at base, wounding three Australian troops in southern Afghanistan.
  • October 29, 2011: Afghan soldier kills three Australian army trainers in the south.
  • April 27, 2011: Afghan Air Force pilot kills eight U.S. troops and a U.S. contractor in Kabul.
  • February 18, 2011: Man in Afghan army uniform kills three German soldiers in northern Afghanistan.
  • November 29, 2010:  Afghan police trainee kills six American soldiers in the east.
  • July 13, 2010: Afghan soldier kills three British troops in the south.

This is the second time in a month that Afghan soldiers have killed French troops. The assault brought to 82 the number of French soldiers killed during the decade they have operated under the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced he was suspending all French military operations in the country and dispatching his defense minister and other top officials to check out the situation there.

Sarkozy said if security measures were not met for French soldiers and for recruiting Afghan soldiers, France may withdraw all of its roughly 4,000 forces from the country. He said French troops were in Afghanistan to fight against terrorism and the Taliban, not to be shot at by allies.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen paid his respects to the French soldiers.

"The reality is that every day 130,000 ISAF troops from 50 nations fight and train with over 300,000 Afghan troops," said Rasmussen.  "That takes a lot of trust among a lot of soldiers. We have the same goal - an Afghanistan that is responsible for its own security."

France's participation in NATO operations in Afghanistan has been criticized here but there has been no strong call to withdraw French forces as in some other European countries. France was expected to withdraw its forces in 2014, along with other NATO forces there. Sarkozy is expected to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Paris next week

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