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France suspends Afghan operations

France suspends Afghan operations

Jan 20, 2012 - 16:51

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Hours after the killing of four French troops in central Kapisa province by an Afghan soldier, Paris announced the suspension of all training and joint operations in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The soldiers were shot dead by their Afghan counterpart in Tagab district earlier in the day. The suspected killer was apprehended, a brief statement from the International Security Assistance Force said.

A local security source confided to Pajhwok Afghan News that at least 15 other foreign troops were wounded in the shooting at a military base in the restive district.

Col. Asadullah Hamidi, a spokesman for the Kapisa police headquarters, said they had received information regarding the incident in Tagab. They were yet to have a detailed report, he added.

According to international media reports, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the shooting raised the query of whether his country should step up the withdrawal of all its soldiers from Afghanistan.

The TF1 television channel quoted Sarkozy as telling diplomats in Paris: "The French Army is standing next to its allies, but we cannot accept that even one of our soldiers be killed or wounded by our allies."

He said of the shooting, the second against French servicemembers in less than a month: "It is unacceptable. I will not accept it." The French leader ordered his Defence Minister Gerard Longuet to visit Afghanistan to demonstrate support for the French contingent.

On Dec. 29, two French troopers were gunned down in Kapisa by a man in an Afghan army uniform. The attacker was shot dead by other French soldiers.

Longuet and army chief of staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud were directed to determine the circumstances of the latest attack on French troopers.

"Between now and then all training, joint combat operations by the French army are suspended," the president told the New Year ceremony. "If security conditions are not clearly established, the question of an early return of the French army will be asked."

Earlier in the month, an American soldier was killed when a man in an ANA uniform opened fire at a military centre in southeastern Afghanistan.

More than 50 foreign troops have been killed and as many wounded by their Afghan partners since 2005, according to data compiled by USA Today.

Of the 3,600 French soldiers operating in Afghanistan under ISAFinfo-icon command, 82 have been killed since the 2001 ouster of the Talibaninfo-icon regime.

PAN Monitor/mud

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