Important step in the withdrawal of the French army in Afghanistan to be completed in late 2013, the troops have officially left the Surobi district Tuesday. Of the 4,000 French soldiers in the country in mid-2011, about 2,950 will still be deployed in late August, reaching the threshold of 1400 in late December 2012, had indicated on July 12 the General Staff of Armed
The French army officially left Tuesday Surobi district, near Kabul, an important step of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan to be completed in late 2013, said a journalist from AFP. Surobi, whose control was formally transferred to Afghan forces on April 12, was one of three major deployment of some 3,000 French troops still present in the country with the neighboring province of Kapisa and Kabul.
Some 650 French soldiers, mostly from the 92nd Infantry Regiment of Clermont-Ferrand, were recently deployed in Surobi. Only a hundred of them returned to France. The rest will remain stationed in Kabul as part of a rapid reaction force. Their departure was marked by a brief ceremony to lower the French flag and raising of the flag of Afghanistan on the basis of Surobi in the presence of about thirty French soldiers and many Afghan soldiers.
Goal of 1,400 men to end December 2012
Of the 4,000 French soldiers in Afghanistan in mid-2011, about 2,950 will still be deployed in late August, reaching the threshold of 1400 in late December 2012, had indicated on July 12 the General Staff of the army. The schedule established by the President Francois Hollande provides for the withdrawal of about 2,000 men of "fighting forces" by the end of 2012, two years before the scheduled departure of the rest of the international force of NATO (ISAF), under the banner of which the French are deployed. In addition, 1,400 French troops remain in the country in 2013 to ensure the withdrawal of equipment and further training of the army and the Afghan police, themselves supposed to ensure the security of the country, always in conflict, after the withdrawal of ISAF.
In late January, French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the time had announced an early withdrawal from Afghanistan in the French army, which controlled Surobi, relatively quiet, and Kapisa, very much more unstable since infiltrated by the insurgency waged by the Taliban . His successor Francois Hollande has further accelerated the withdrawal of French troops, to be completed in 2013. Kapisa was formally handed over to Afghan authorities in early July. French disengagement in this province will be gradual.
87 French soldiers died in Afghanistan
Despite the presence of 130,000 soldiers of the ISAF, in support of 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police, the Kabul government and its NATO allies have failed to defeat the insurgency, which has even gained ground in recent years, raising fears of civil war after the withdrawal Western. At least 87 French soldiers died in Afghanistan since the beginning of Western intervention that ousted the Taliban from power in late 2001. 53 were killed in Kapisa, including all 24 killed in 2011, the deadliest year for France in the country.Asian Defence News