French soldier killed in Afghanistan

An insurgent shot dead a French soldier on Sunday in the northeastern Afghan region of Kapisa, the French presidency said in a statement.

“It is with great sadness that the president of the republic learned of the death this morning in Afghanistan of a lieutenant from Colmar’s 152nd infantry regiment,” the statement said.  

The lieutenant’s death, which took place during a support mission for the national Afghan forces, brings to 74 the number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.  

“While deadly, these recent operations do not dent France’s determination… and reflect the intensity of the insurgents’ desperate attacks,” the presidency said.  

According to French military sources, the incident occurred when French and Afghan forces were conducting a search operation in the south of the Kapisa region, around 10 kilometres south of Tagab.  

Bertrand Bonneau, an army spokesman, said that the operation was part of France’s involvement in preparations for a handover of full security responsibilities to homegrown Afghan forces. 

The dead soldier was identified as Camille Levrel, a 36-year-old officer who had also served in Kosovo and Chad.  

A French soldier was killed and four others wounded on Thursday in Kapisa. 

Out of the 74 French soldiers killed since Paris contributed troops to the US-led operation in Afghanistan in 2001, 22 died this year alone.  

Around 4,000 French troops are serving in Afghanistan, most of them in Kapisa, and President Nicolas Sarkozy has said all will be withdrawn by 2014.

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