France is ending its combat mission in Afghanistan.
Some 400 troops are preparing to leave Kapisa, the province where France has lost most of its 88 soldiers killed since the start of the conflict.
The withdrawal follows successive attacks by rogue Afghan forces.
The commander of the Task Force Lafayette, General Eric Hautecloque-Raysz, said they were due to leave at the end of December after the French president’s election campaign promise in May.
“Since then we’ve been dedicated to helping Afghans make progress to be able to be self-dependent.”
Around 700 more French combat troops will return home between now and the end of the year, with more than a thousand others back by next summer.
Some 500 French troops will maintain a presence for training purposes for an indefinite period.