Sarkozy Calls Security Meeting After Afghanistan Deaths

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 9:25 am (UTC-5)
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy called a special meeting with his top security advisers Thursday to discuss new security conditions for the country's soldiers in Afghanistan, after six French soldiers were killed there in the past two days.

Mr. Sarkozy said he wants to talk about how to keep French soldiers safe during the transition process before French troops begin withdrawing from Afghanistan. He also told reporters in Paris that the transition and withdrawal period is the most complex part of the French mission in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday during a visit to Afghanistan, Mr. Sarkozy announced that France will pull out 1,000 or a quarter of its troops by the end of 2012. Most international combat forces are set to leave Afghanistan and transfer security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

The French president's office also announced that another French soldier died Thursday in an attack by insurgents in Afghanistan's Alasay Valley, northeast of Kabul. The day before, five French soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up near French troops who were protecting a local council meeting in the Joybar area of Kapisa province.

Thursday's death brings the number of French troops killed in the country to 70 since 2001. France has about 4,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Wednesday's attack on French forces was the deadliest since 2008, when 10 soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a Taliban ambush in the Uzbin Valley, south of the Afghan capital.

Violence is at its worst point in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion almost a decade ago.