It was the costliest battle for the French military in a quarter of a century. Ten soldiers were killed in August 2008 when a foot patrol walked into a Taliban ambush in the Sarobi area of Afghanistan, an area they believed quiet.
It had been up until then, because the Italians, who had previously policed the zone before handing over to the French the month before, had been paying bribes to local Taliban commanders.
That is what media reports today are claiming, and as military experts have commented, while paying bribes may be a legitimate means of peacekeeping, not telling your allies you are doing it is pure folly.
The report adds that the US found out that the Italian Secret Service was paying bribes in Herat province further to the west through intercepted radio communications. The ambassador in Rome made a diplomatic protest in June 2008, just weeks before the attack. Subsequently, payments in the Sarobi area were also discovered.