France confirms soldier among Afghan NATO dead
France said Friday that one of its troops was among the NATO soldiers fatally wounded in the latest series of setbacks to the alliance's campaign against insurgent fighters in Afghanistan.
Earlier, NATO command in Kabul had announced that eight allied soldiers had been killed on Thursday, but President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said a French soldier had died of his wounds early Friday.
It was therefore not immediately clear whether the French death was included in the earlier NATO figure or was to be counted separately.
"The president has learned with great emotion of the death, this morning, of a French NCO from the 126th Infantry Regiment of Brive during an operation in the Uzbin valley," a statement said.
Uzbin is in the Sarobi district 60 kilometres (38 miles) northwest of Kabul, in the French army's area of operations.
The soldier's death brought the total number of French killed in the Afghan mission since 2001 to 48, while at least 589 NATO troops have been killed so far this year, as Taliban forces step up their insurgency.
News of the latest French casualties came as NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived in Paris for talks with senior officials, and as polls continue to show most French voters are opposed to the war.
© 2010 AFP