French soldier killed in attack in Afghanistan

12th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

The soldier became the 37the French victim to die in Afghanistan since 2001.

Paris – A French soldier was killed and another seriously wounded in an attack in Afghanistan on Monday, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement.

The attack struck a convoy of French and Afghan forces in the Alasay valley northeast of Kabul, according to the statement.

"A non-commissioned officer paid with his life for the commitment of France to the peace and security of the Afghan people and an officer was very gravely wounded," it said.

Sarkozy "strongly condemned this blind violence and expressed France's determination to continue to work within the (NATO-led) International Security Assistance Force," the statement added.

The victim was the 37th French soldier to die in Afghanistan since the current war began in 2001.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin, who also paid tribute to the dead man and his wounded colleague, said the NCO was a member of the French army medical corps attached to the 402nd Artillery Regiment.

France has 3,300 troops in Afghanistan serving in NATO's mission to stabilise the country, against fierce resistance from fighters loyal to the ousted Taliban regime.

NATO and military officials separately reported the death of the French soldier as well as three Americans in the south of the country and two other international soldiers of unspecified nationality.

The deaths brought to 15 the number of foreign soldiers who have died fighting in Afghanistan already this year.

On Friday Sarkozy had indicated that French troops would be kept in Afghanistan for the time being.

"The conditions for withdrawal are not yet in place," he had said. "We must continue to help the Afghans until they are able to handle their security and development alone."

France has signalled it may agree to send reinforcements to Afghanistan in response to a request from US President Barack Obama who is looking to boost the troop presence there and end the war.

A major conference on Afghanistan is scheduled in London at the end of this month, bringing together all the major allies and Afghan officials to chart a new course for the Afghan mission in light of the new US strategy.

AFP / Expatica

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