The Washington Post01/02/2007By [Printer Friendly Version]
Contrary to what Anne Applebaum wrote [" 'Old Europe' Can Gloat, but Then What?" op-ed, Dec. 19], France is not removing its troops from Afghanistan.
Subsequent to the recent NATO summit in Latvia, my country is reinforcing its deployment in the Kabul zone, currently under French command, by sending maneuver helicopters and two additional infantry sections while maintaining air support. President Jacques Chirac announced that French troops could, if needed, be deployed on a case-by-case basis outside of the Kabul zone, comparable to what is being done with British troops. At the same time, France's commitment to the training of Afghan armed forces is being strengthened.
The decision to withdraw 200 special forces troops is part of the downsizing of Operation Enduring Freedom. As part of this same process, 10,000 U.S. troops are being transferred from Operation Enduring Freedom to NATO's International Security Assistance Force. France is participating in the training of Afghan special forces and has offered to facilitate the creation of an Afghan military police force.
France is one of the top military contributors in Afghanistan, and its new military deployment is part of a strategy designed to help that nation's development process.
Embassy of France, Washington