63rd French soldier killed in Afghanistan

25th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A French soldier has been killed in Afghanistan, the 63rd to die in the country since 2001, France's presidential office said on Saturday.

"During an operation in (northeastern) Kapisa, as he carried out a reconnaissance mission on foot, he was fatally wounded by a shot fired by an insurgent," a statement said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed his support for the "Afghan people and the Afghan authorities," the statement said,

The circumstances were virtually identical to those of the death of the 62nd French soldier killed in the same region of Afghanistan a week before.

Sarkozy announced on Friday that "several hundred" of the 4,000 French troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn before the end of 2011.

Sarkozy said he shared US President Barack Obama's belief that security had improved since the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and that the handover to Afghan troops and police was taking place smoothly.

© 2011 AFP

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