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    Karzai again condoles killing of French troops

    KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Sunday once again extended his deep condolences to the people and government of France over the death of four French soldiers in central Kapisa province.

    During a meeting with French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Karzai called the incident in Tagab district an individual act that in no way reflected Afghans' hostility toward French troops.

    The president said it was a matter of great concern that for a second time an Afghan soldier had attacked French troops. Karzai said he had directed the Ministry of Defence to thoroughly investigate the shooting.

    At least 17 unarmed French troops were injured when a rogue Afghan soldier opened fire at them, leading Paris to announce the suspension of all training activities in Afghanistan.

    Gerard Longuet, who arrived in Kabul on Saturday, told the president that France remained committed to bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. He thanked Karzai for expressing his condolences to the victims' families and ordering investigation.

    The visiting defence minister said his country would soon sign a strategic agreement on long-term cooperation with Afghanistan. Paris would continue to assist Afghanistan beyond 2014, he promised.

    Karzai praised France's contributions toward his war-ravaged country over the past several years, saying Afghans believed that Paris was their true friend.