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Hollande confirms early Afghan pull-out

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Hollande confirms early Afghan pull-out
LCP Assemblee Nationale
05:22 CEST+02:00

French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday he had reached agreement with his NATO allies over his decision to withdraw French troops early from Afghanistan, saying they had understood his position.

"The combat troops will be pulled out from Afghanistan by the end of the year. In 2013 only trainers for the police forces and the Afghan soldiers will remain. That will be done as part of the ISAF operation, and based on these principles we managed to reach agreement," Holland told reporters.

"We have ensured that France's position has been fully respected and applied, and at the same time I ensured that our allies understood the reason for this operation," the new French leader said.

"I demonstrated this by showing that there are actions which will remain part of the ISAF framework."

Hollande, on his first foreign tour since being inaugurated as the new president on Tuesday, said he had been "open" with US President Barack Obama in their talks.

"And I told everyone I spoke with that this was not negotiable because it was a question of French sovereignty and everyone understood."

Hollande also highlighted that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had told him during their talks Sunday that the French decision "did not bring into question the (NATO) operation."


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