No proof US jets killed French troops in Kabul
French Defence Minister says there is no concrete evidence to suggest US warplanes accidentally killed French troops in Afghanistan.21 August 2008
PARIS -- French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Thursday there is no evidence that US warplanes accidentally killed any of 10 French troops who died in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan.
"There was fire from machine guns on American planes that were guided by American special forces and we have no information that enables us to consider that the French soldiers were killed under fire from NATO planes," he said.
Ten French soldiers were killed and 21 wounded in a sustained attack Monday by the insurgents east of Kabul.
Le Monde newspaper reported Wednesday that according to French troops wounded in the fighting, NATO air strikes missed their targets and hit French troops, as did shots fired by Afghan troops backing them up.
The Pentagon said Wednesday it had no information that close US air support resulted in French casualties, while a NATO official in Brussels said the alliance would look into the report.
Morin also denied that, as claimed by soldiers quoted in Le Monde, it took four hours for backup to arrive to help the ambushed French troops.
"Fifteen to 20 minutes after the engagement of our forces, a support section left the base camp and took around 40 to 50 minutes to get to the scene," he told French radio station RTL.
[AFP / Expatica]