Dead French soldiers honoured in Afghanistan

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French soldiers fall silent to honour 10 comrades killed in an insurgent attack a year ago in Afghanistan.

Deh Rahwod base – French soldiers fell silent Tuesday to honour 10 comrades killed in an insurgent attack a year ago, the highest loss in battle for foreign soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001.

French forces stationed in Uruzgan, in the belt of southern provinces where Taliban extremists are most entrenched, observed a minute's silence to remember the men who died in an insurgent ambush near Kabul in 2008.

"You wrote in blood a new page in the history of the parachutists," said an officer from the soldiers' French parachute regiment, in a ceremony at the base.

Similar events were expected at other French bases around the country, officers said.

The ambush in the Uzbin Valley around 60 kilometres east of the Afghan capital was the deadliest ground attack on international troops since they were sent to Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the hardline Taliban regime.

It sent shock waves through France, whose 2,900 troops in Afghanistan represent a significant chunk of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and was the country's worst military loss in 25 years.

Around 140-170 insurgents carried out the ambush, which was claimed by Taliban insurgents as well as the radical faction of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

The Taliban, in government between 1996 and 2001, are leading the insurgency which has this year seen record attacks.

Seventy-six international soldiers were killed in Afghanistan last month, making it the deadliest since 2001.

AFP / Expatica

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