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France To Pull Special Forces From Afghanistan

From the BBC:

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, walks with Brigadier General Pierre de Villiers (L) and other French millitary officers at camp warehouse in Kabul. Alliot-Marie has announced that France will withdraw hundreds of its special forces from Afghanistan within the next few weeks.

France cuts Afghan troop numbers

Sunday, 17 December 2006, 14:28 GMT

France has announced it is pulling out 200 special forces personnel from Afghanistan over the coming weeks.

The troops are serving with US-led forces hunting al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters in eastern Afghanistan.

France has insisted the withdrawal does not represent a lessening of its commitment to Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who is in Kabul, said French fighter jets based in Tajikistan would continue to provide air support

"There is a general reorganisation of our (troops)," she told France-Info radio.

The French special forces have been operating separately from the main Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) which took over from US troops in eastern Afghanistan in October.

France has more than 1,500 other troops serving with Isaf. Most are stationed in the relatively quiet capital, Kabul.

Last month, under pressure from countries like Britain, French President Jacques Chirac said the rules of engagement for those troops could be changed so they could intervene in other parts of the country on a case-by-case basis.

Zut alors! What a surprise!

This is why it was so important to have a "multi-national" force. So that they could put out within weeks of finally being deployed.

By the way, I hadn’t realized France had a female defense minister.

That figures.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, December 17th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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