Friday 18 April 2014
News updated at 9:06 PM IST
Weather
Max: 34.6°C
Min : 22.1°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

France ends combat mission in Afghanistan

Nijrab Base(Afghanistan), Nov 20, 2012 (AFP)

France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan today, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country.

Paris has said all French combat soldiers will leave next month, two years before allied nations contributing to the 100,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the United States are due to depart.

Around 1,500 French soldiers will stay into 2013 to take responsibility for repatriating equipment and training the Afghan army to take over when all NATO combat troops leave in 2014.

France joined the NATO coalition in late 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States to topple the Taliban which had given refuge to Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network.


But despite 11 years of fighting, a resilient Taliban insurgency has led to warnings of a return to civil war or the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan after 2014.

An AFP correspondent saw the last 400 soldiers deployed in Kapisa province start to leave Nijrab, the last French base outside Kabul, at 10:00 am after a departure ceremony.

France has lost 88 soldiers in Afghanistan and has been the fifth largest contributor to ISAF, behind the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.

Kapisa, which straddles key transit routes from Pakistan to the Afghan capital, has been the deadliest French mission in Afghanistan, accounting for 60 of total French fatalities.
Troops moved into the province in 2008 and clashes with the Taliban and militia quickly increased.

French and Afghan commanders say Kapisa has stabilised, but have been unable to provide supporting statistics and attacks have continued.

"I have not seen terrain recaptured by the insurgency in this zone," said General Olivier de Bavinchove, the French commander in Afghanistan.

Two out of six Kapisa districts are thought to be at least partly controlled by insurgents.
Kapisa security will now be the responsibility of 4,700 Afghan police and soldiers, supported by 250 American soldiers, according to General Eric Hautecloque-Raysz, the French commander in Kapisa and nearby district Surobi.

He says he is optimistic about the capacity of Afghan troops. "The insurgency is 10 times less than the (Afghan) security forces. Therefore, they cannot be beaten," he said.
Paris decided to accelerate its withdrawal after a string of deadly attacks in 2011 and 2012.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Catholic devotees attend a Good Friday Mass inside at a church in New Delhi...

Catholic devotees attend a Good Friday Mass inside at a church in New Delhi...

Fire fighters trying to douse a fire that broke out at a shopping complex in Noida...

Fire fighters trying to douse a fire that broke out at a shopping complex in Noida...

SSB soldiers during the passing out parade of the 6th batch at Sashastra Seema Bal...

SSB soldiers during the passing out parade of the 6th batch at Sashastra Seema Bal...

A girl lights a candle on a graveyard of Central baptist Church's central graveyard...

A girl lights a candle on a graveyard of Central baptist Church's central graveyard...

Christian devotees take part in a 'Good Friday' procession in Jammu...

Christian devotees take part in a 'Good Friday' procession in Jammu...

A potter making earthen pots during summer season in Mirzapur on Friday. PTI Photo

A potter making earthen pots during summer season in Mirzapur on Friday. PTI Photo

Samajwadi Party workers attempt self-immolation with kerosene oil during a protest against ...

Samajwadi Party workers attempt self-immolation with kerosene oil during a protest against ...

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), dressed as bloodied rabbits ...

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), dressed as bloodied rabbits ...

Mutupallaku fesitval procession at Coonoor near Ooty on Friday. PTI Photo

Mutupallaku fesitval procession at Coonoor near Ooty on Friday. PTI Photo

A girl child kissing a statue of Jesus Christ on the occasion of Good Friday at The Sacred Heart...

A girl child kissing a statue of Jesus Christ on the occasion of Good Friday at The Sacred Heart...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523