Monday, June 24, 2024

France ends combat mission in Afghanistan


Share post:


Nijrab Base (Afghanistan): France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan on Tuesday, 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 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 and has been the fifth largest contributor to ISAF, behind the US, 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.

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. (AFP)


Related articles

Hindujas and justice

A developed nation is materially different from an under-developed one. In several cases, the difference could be as...

Pending petitions delay final report

Delimitation of KHADC constituencies SHILLONG, June 23: The delimitation tasked to re-organise the 29 constituencies of Khasi Hills Autonomous...

Hek seeks GoI help to boost animal rearing, fisheries sector

NEW DELHI, June 23: Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister, AL Hek on Sunday met Union Minister of State...

Workshop draws up plans for cleanliness of Umiam Lake

SHILLONG, June 23: Meghalaya Institute of Governance (MIG), in collaboration with the Union Christian College (UCC) and Operation...