Bomb kills French soldier in Afghanistan: presidency

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A bomb killed a French soldier serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said on Tuesday.

The death brought to 45 the number of French troops killed in Afghanistan since their deployment in January 2002.

"The president of the republic learned this morning with deep sadness of the death in Afghanistan of a staff sergeant" in an engineering regiment from Valdahon in eastern France, the presidential palace said in a statement.

The officer was part of a detachment leading the way during a reconnaissance operation on a road near a village called Sherkel northeast of Kabul, it said.

"An improvised explosive device blew up, severely wounding the staff sergeant. He died from his wounds in hospital in Kabul," the statement said.

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.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also on Tuesday announced four deaths in the volatile south of the country, without giving their nationalities, according to its policy.

June saw a monthly record toll of 102 foreign soldiers killed in the war.

The French non-commissioned officer "paid with his life for France's commitment to serving the peace and security of the Afghan people," the presidential statement said.

Sarkozy "forcefully condemns this blind violence and expresses France's determination to continue to work in the International Security and Assistance Force."

© 2010 AFP

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