French President Nicolas Sarkozy has paid tribute to seven French soldiers killed last week in Afghanistan, saying they fought in a just war against what he called the "tyranny" of the Taliban movement.
Speaking at a funeral ceremony in Paris Tuesday, Sarkozy said Taliban militants imprisoned the Afghan people, oppressed women, kept children in ignorance and transformed a whole country into a base for terrorism. Other leaders who attended the ceremony at the Invalides complex included Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
Five of the French soldiers were killed last Wednesday in a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan's Kapisa province. The seven fatalities raised the number of French troops killed in the Afghan war to 70 since 2001.
France has about 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. Sarkozy visited the country last Tuesday and announced that he will pull out about one-quarter of those troops by the end of 2012. Most international combat forces are set to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.