Sunday, December 17, 2006

France to U.S.: Hey, those Champs-Elysee-shade jokes aren't funny!

France to withdraw 200 special forces, all ground troops, from Afghanistan

PARIS — France is to withdraw its 200-strong special forces from Afghanistan, all of its ground troops engaged in the U.S anti-terror operation there, authorities announced Sunday.

The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban militia are gaining strength despite the strong engagement — some 32,800 troops — in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which includes Canadian troops. France has balked at sending its 1,100-strong NATO contingent outside the relatively safe Afghan capital, Kabul.

. . . Despite the pullout, Alliot-Marie said that France intends to maintain its air power “which has backed up coalition forces numerous times” and is adding two helicopters in the advanced zone between Jalalabad, in the southeast, and Kabul.

She said that France also plans to train Afghan special forces “because it appears important to us that the Afghans see that it is their own forces which are retaking the theatre” of war.

But, Mme Alliot-Marie, how can you train special forces when you have removed your special forces? Or will you be sending the Afghani special forces to France for training? Really, I'd like to know . . .

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