Monday 7 May 2012 - 10:37

Afghan forces can handle security if France withdraws: Defense Ministry

Story Code : 159689
French forces in Afghanistan (file photo)
French forces in Afghanistan (file photo)
The ministry spokesman, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, told AFP on Monday that “Afghanistan is well prepared to take overall security responsibilities in 2013."

French president-elect Francois Hollande pledged in his presidential campaign to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, which is earlier than scheduled.

"I believe that, without taking any risks for our troops, it is the right thing to withdraw our combat troops by the end of 2012," Hollande said last week.

The move would end France’s combat role in Afghanistan two years earlier than NATO’s deadline to hand over security control to Afghans by 2014.

Hollande is scheduled to meet fellow NATO leaders at a summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Chicago later this month.

As part of the US-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan, France has around 3,400 troops mainly stationed in the provinces of Kabul and Kapisa.