French defence minister on first Afghanistan visit

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French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet will visit Afghanistan for several days starting from Sunday, his office said, in his first visit to the country since taking office earlier this year.

His office told AFP that Longuet was due in Kabul starting from Sunday, but refused to provide further details of the trip for security reasons.

It will be the first time Longuet has visited Afghanistan since becoming defence minister in late February.

About 4,000 French soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan as part of international military efforts against the Taliban that began in 2001.

Fifty-five French soldiers have died in the country since the launch of the international operation.

© 2011 AFP

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