Taliban threaten to kill remaining French troops
4 September 2008
PARIS — The Taliban commando behind an ambush that left 10 French soldiers dead in August has threatened to kill all French troops unless they leave Afghanistan, a French news weekly reported.
Paris Match magazine on Thursday publishes an interview with the leader of a group of 28 Taliban fighters in the eastern Laghman province, named Commander Faruki, who claimed to have led the 18 August attack.
"These men died because of (US President George W.) Bush and your president. We did not want to kill your husbands or your children. We have nothing against the French. If they leave, all will be well," Faruki said.
"So long as you stay in our land, we will kill you. All."
The weekly published photographs of the fighters, their faces masked, one of whom wore a French army uniform, another a French bullet-proof vest and helmet, while two others carried Famas assault rifles used by the French forces.
The Taliban leader said his forces acted in "legitimate self-defence" against the French troops.
He denied planning an ambush, but said the Taliban had been "warned slightly before the attack of the presence of foreign soldiers" and had positioned "140 well-trained fighters" to combat them.
The ambush, and fierce fighting that followed, left 10 French soldiers dead and 21 wounded.
Details of the clash, the deadliest ground battle for foreign forces since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and the worst French military loss in 25 years, have remained unclear.
The attack prompted a public outcry in France, with some calling for an immediate pullout of the 3,000 French troops serving in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country.
About 70,000 international troops – 40,000 of them with the NATO-led force – are fighting alongside Afghans against Taliban insurgents whose regime was ousted in a US-led invasion launched after the 11 September 2001 attacks.
[AFP / Expatica]