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Afghanistan/French troops

Published on January 26, 2012
Reply by François Fillon, Prime Minister, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpts)

Paris, January 24, 2012

(…)

Even though an act by an infiltrator mustn’t call into question the integrity of the Afghan army as a whole, we can’t accept French soldiers being killed by soldiers they’ve come to train and support in their fight to help the Afghan people.

At the same time, there can be no possible doubt of France’s determination to accomplish her mission, in coordination with the 47 other countries that make up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). That mission is not over.

From the outset, France and her partners have been pursuing two goals which are actually related: to combat the hotbed of terrorism created in Afghanistan owing to the rule of the Taliban, and to recreate in Afghanistan the conditions of stability necessary to enable the Afghans to live in peace and take responsibility for their own security.

That’s how, last year, we were able to transfer responsibility for security in several regions to the Afghan forces, including in Surobi District, one of the two areas where French forces are deployed. We’re going to proceed with this transfer in the other region under our responsibility, Kapisa, as soon as conditions allow it.

In this context, we’ve drawn up a plan for withdrawing French troops that has already been translated into the departure of 400 soldiers, at the end of last year. This plan will continue this year, as we announced, with the return of some 600 additional soldiers.

Everything must be done in an orderly fashion and in close consultation with our partners, but let no one be mistaken: our combatants’ determination to serve remains intact. What they need today is the homage of the nation, French people’s support and the confidence that their mission is being accomplished./.

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