France to withdraw last troops from Afghanistan this month

19th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

The French military mission in Afghanistan will officially end on December 31 when the last of its forces leave the country, the defence ministry said Friday.

The departure of around 150 soldiers from Kabul will put an end to a 13-year mission as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

At its height, France deployed some 4,000 soldiers to the NATO force which peaked at over 130,000 troops in 2010. France has not had combat forces in the country since 2012.

A total of 70,000 French soldiers have rotated through Afghanistan, with 89 killed and 700 injured.

The French military has since been involved in training the Afghan army.

"In total, we have contributed to the training of 21,000 officers, non-commissioned officers and specialists," said a French army spokesman, adding that the Afghan army has increased from 12,000 to 350,000 men since 2002.

The NATO mission ends this month. Around 12,500 foreign soldiers -- mostly from the US -- will remain in the country in 2015 in a supporting role.

© 2014 AFP

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