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France Promises Long-Term Assistance to Afghanistan

Sunday 21 October 2012

KABUL (Pajhwok Afghan News) – France on Saturday promised to extend its assistance to Afghanistan beyond 2014, when NATO-led combat troops are scheduled to leave the country.

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Laurent Fabius
(Photo : Pajhwok)

Visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius held out the assurance at a meeting with President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. The process of security transition, the war on terrorism and extremism in the region and French assistance to Afghanistan figured at the meeting, a statement from Karzai’s office said.

In February 2012, after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, French president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to suspend French operations in Afghanistan. The newly elected president Francois Hollande, announced in June 2012 that he would be withdrawing 2,000 of France’s 3,400 troops in Afghanistan, leaving 1,400 for training and logistics.

Hailing France as Afghanistan’s great friend, Karzai thanked Laurent Fabius for extending aid to his country over the years. Karzai noted the progress made in the public health sector over the past 11 years but added that the Afghans still had to go abroad for the treatment of common ailments. He urged France to expand assistance to Afghanistan’s health sector.

Fabius welcomed the approval of the Afghan-French strategic agreement by parliaments of both countries. Under the agreement, France will continue to aid Afghanistan, he said.

French forces in Afghanistan have been involved in the ongoing War in Afghanistan since late 2001. They operate within two distinct frameworks:

  • the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), carried out by NATO on a United Nations mandate
  • Operation Enduring Freedom, under US command, as part of the so-called “War on Terror”.

As of 1 November 2009, 4,000 French personnel were deployed in Afghanistan, including the air support of Combined Task Force 150 in the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, 150 gendarmes were deployed in late 2009. Operations in 2009 alone cost €450 millions, amounting to over half the €870 million Euros devoted to military operations abroad. 87 men have been killed.

On 9 October, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2069 renewing for one year the authorization given to ISAF of the use of force in Afghanistan.

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