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    French troops withdraw from Tagab camps

    MAHMOOD RAQI (PAN): French soldiers have vacated two camps in the Tagab district of central Kapisa province and moved into their main base in the Sarobi district of central Kabul province, officials said on Saturday.

    Several French troops had withdrawn from the two camps in the district, where a man wearing Afghan National Army uniform shot dead four French soldiers and injured 17 others on Dec. 29, said the 201st Selab Military Corps spokesman, Col. Mehman Atif. He had no information about the number of foreign troops leaving the camps.

    France has currently 3,600 troops based in Kabul and Kapisa. Since 2001, 78 French soldiers have been killed in the country.

    Atif said the withdrawal of French troops had no connection with the Dec. 29 incident, but in fact it was a result of President Hamid Karzai talks with French officials during his recent visit to Europe.

    District police chief Haji Shah Agha said the French soldiers left a centre in Ahmadzai area near Shamshad hill at 10am on Friday in a covoy of vehicles.  

    The foreign soldiers had abandoned the Lakki Tega camp, said a local, Atiqullah.

    Hours after the Dec. 29 incident, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the suspension of training and joint operations in Afghanistan. He told diplomats in Paris: "We cannot accept that even one of our soldiers be killed or wounded by our allies."

    But French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Jan 25, France would not withdraw their soldiers from Afghanistan this year in the wake of the death of four of its soldiers.