French Defence Minister to visit Afghanistan today
Paris: A day after a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up in Afghanistan and killed four French troops on Saturday, France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will arrive in the South Asian country on Sunday.
France meanwhile announced that it would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July.
Hours after the attack, French President Francois Hollande said that his country will complete the troop pullback from Afghanistan by the year-end.
In a statement, Hollande said that a "national tribute" would be paid to the soldiers.
Until the pullout is completed, "everything must be done for our troops to meet their obligations but with... the greatest vigilance for the lives of the soldiers”, the newly-elected President added.
On Saturday, a Taliban suicide bomber disguised as a woman and wearing a burqa blew himself up in a market in eastern Afghanistan, killing four French troops, officials said.
The French forces were responding to a report of a bomb planted under a bridge in the main market area of Kapisa province’s Nijrab district when the bomber walked up to them and detonated his explosives, said Qais Qadri, a spokesman for the provincial government.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in an e-mail.
France’s Defence Ministry confirmed the nationality of the dead and said another five French troops were wounded in blast. The ministry said they were on an operation supporting the Afghan Army but did not provide details.
(With Agency inputs)
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