A fifth French soldier killed in Afghanistan

15th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

KABUL, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - A French soldier was killed Monday in a blast during a mine clearance operation near Afghanistan's main international airport in the capital, the French military said.

KABUL, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - A French soldier was killed Monday in a blast during a mine clearance operation near Afghanistan's main international airport in the capital, the French military said.

The soldier, aged 22, was seriously hurt in the explosion and died later of his wounds, the military said in a statement.

France has now lost five soldiers in Afghanistan since deploying to the country in 2001, weeks after the hard-line Taliban government was removed from power by a coalition led by the United States, a spokesman said.

Two were killed in action in the south in the past months, where a Taliban-led insurgency is fiercest. One died a clash with Taliban in March; the other died in a bomb blast in September.

France has about 670 soldiers working in areas around the capital Kabul as part of NATO-led peacekeeping contingent, the International Security Assistance Force, which is made up of troops from more than 30 countries.

The force is helping to remove the thousands of mines that still litter Afghanistan, which is emerging from nearly 30 years of war, and conducts daily patrols on the outskirts of the capital.

France has another 200 special forces soldiers in Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, one of the areas most plagued by attacks from rebels loyal to the Islamist Taliban government that was removed for sheltering the al-Qaeda terror network.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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