French President François Hollande has restated his plan to withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
It comes after four French soldiers were killed and five others injured in a suicide bomb attack on Saturday.
Hollande said the withdrawal operation would begin in July.
“We want Afghans to retrieve their sovereignty as soon as possible within a transition that should be orderly, but swift,” he said.
Saturday’s attack happened in the mountainous Kapisa province, an area mainly patrolled by a French force under NATO command. The Taliban has admitted responsibility.
According to one military analyst, troops will face further security risks as the withdrawal gets underway.
“In the coming months, French forces will be even more vulnerable because they will be involved in the movement of troops and material. Unfortunately, attacks won’t stop,” said Pierre Servent.
“The Taliban won’t say ‘we will let the French go quietly’. As long as they can strike and kill, they will.”
Hollande visited Kapisa province last month, soon after taking up the French presidency. He defended the decision to pull troops out early – ahead of NATO allies – saying the job of fighting terrorism was nearly done.
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