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France ends combat mission in Afghanistan

Published on Nov 20, 2012 2:23 PM
French soldiers carry temporary coffins as part of the withdrawal of French troops in Kabul, Nov 18, 2012. French combat troops are due to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of the year. --PHOTO: REUTERS

NIJRAB BASE, Afghanistan (AFP) - French troops on Tuesday ended their last combat mission in Afghanistan by withdrawing from Kapisa province as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country.

The last 400 soldiers deployed to the volatile province started to leave Nijrab, the French base in Kapisa, at 10am local time (1.30pm Singapore) after a departure ceremony.

Of the 2,200 French soldiers still left in Afghanistan, a military official said that about 700 would return to France by the end of the year. Around 50 trainers will remain based in Wardak province, west of Kabul, and 1,500 would stay in the Afghan capital, where most will be tasked with organising the final departure of French troops by the summer of 2013.

After that date, only several hundred French soldiers involved in cooperation or training missions will remain in the country, the military official said.