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Hollande takes withdrawal message to Kabul


Afghanistan

Hollande takes withdrawal message to Kabul

French President François Hollande has wasted no time in taking his message of an early French withdrawal to Afghanistan, and in person.

He flew in on a surprise, lightning visit for a few hours to meet French troops at their base north-east of Kabul, and to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Hollande was accompanied by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“Our withdrawal will be orderly and co-ordinated. More than 2000 of you will be back in France before the year’s end. It’s a big challenge to organise and in logistical terms. As the General has said, it’s a real operation, and there will be risks,” said Hollande.

Hollande was criticised last weekend at the NATO summit for speeding up France’s pullout, already brought forward by a year to 2013 by predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. However he promised President Karzai continued development support.

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