French troops may begin Afghan withdrawal in 2011: minister
French and some allied NATO armies could begin to withdraw some of their forces from the conflict in Afghanistan as early as 2011, Defence Minister Herve Morin said Thursday.
"There's a fixed date for NATO in the framework of its new strategy, that's the start of 2011, because in 2011 we're going to transfer a whole series of districts to the Afghans," he told RTL radio.
"At that moment, there could be the first movements, or first withdrawals of Allied forces from Afghanistan. In any case, that's the calendar set by Barack Obama, that in 2011 the first American troops could quit Afghanistan.
"And that's what a certain number of European countries have started to say," he explained, insisting that this has nothing to do with a threat issued against France on Thursday by Islamist militant chief Osama bin Laden.
© 2010 AFP