Sarkozy vows France will 'do duty' in Afghanistan
French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed on Wednesday that the French military will fight on to ensure peace in Afghanistan, where scores of troops have been killed fighting the Taliban.
"The French army will do its duty in the service of peace with our allies and our friends, wherever we are," he said on France 2 television, after meeting troops at the annual military parade on France's national holiday.
After a march-past by French and visiting African forces, Sarkozy met French soldiers who had served, and in some cases been injured, in Afghanistan and in Lebanon, where France is part of a UN peacekeeping mission.
"They have done their duty and we must do our duty, which is to support them, help them and make sure they are never abandoned. We need them," Sarkozy said.
Sarkozy's office said last week that a bomb killed a French soldier serving with NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, bringing to 45 the number of French troops killed in the country since their deployment in January 2002.
A poll published in the left-wing newspaper L'Humanite on Wednesday said fewer than three in 10 French people support France's ongoing involvement in the Afghanistan war.
Most of France's 3,500 soldiers inside Afghanistan are based in districts around Kabul in the east of the country, where they are part of a NATO-led multinational force fighting Taliban forces.
June saw a monthly record toll of 102 foreign soldiers killed in the war.
© 2010 AFP