France reconsiders Afghan mission after death of ten soldiers

By
August 24, 2008 08:53
1 minute read.

The death of 10 French soldiers in an ambush by insurgents in Afghanistan has stoked a cry at home for France to rethink its commitment to the seven-year mission led by the United States. Most French voters want out, and the opposition is ratcheting up the pressure on President Nicolas Sarkozy's government - though analysts say France and other allies will dig in for the fight even as they insist upon a new look at NATO's strategy against the Taliban and al-Qaida. The word "quagmire" has popped up repeatedly when Afghanistan is discussed in Paris political circles - even in Sarkozy's own party - since Monday's well-planned ambush of a French-led patrol in the Uzbin Valley east of Kabul. It was the deadliest attack on international troops in Afghanistan in more than three years, and the latest sign that the insurgency is growing stronger. "The pressure is going to be: How do we get this war right?" said Francois Heisbourg, who heads the state-funded Foundation for Strategic Research think-tank in Paris. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has ordered a parliamentary debate and vote on France's role in Afghanistan, part of a new law requiring a lawmaker vote on foreign military missions lasting more than four months. They are expected to take place between Sept. 22 and Sept. 30.


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