Saturday, May 19, 2012
Hollande repeats pledge to withdaw all French combat troops from Afghanistan by end of this year.
After a meeting at the White House with president Obama newly elected French president Francois Hollande repeated his campaign promise that he would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
Hollande said:“I reminded President Obama of the commitment that I made to the French people – the withdrawal of combat troops between now and the end of 2012,” However Obama said that both agreed to a long term commitment to Afghanistan. This may mean only that France will simply help financially in the period from 2014 to 20024 when the U.S. Afghanistan Strategic Partnership agreement will be in force. However perhaps some French troops might remain in a non-combat role.
There is majority opposition to the Afghan missions in both the U.S. and France but France is obviously going to withdraw troops early. However the U.S. is planning to keep troops in Afghanistan after 2014 who will not only be there in a training role but special forces will still conduct night raids and other anti-terror missions. The number of troops to remain has not as yet been determined nor the terms of their presence. As well the U.S taxpayer will be funding the Afghan military by at least a billion plus for year. The U.S. naturally would like to have more NATO countries share the burden but that is a political hard sell in many NATO countries. For more see this article.