France to send troops to Afghan combat zone-report

France may send hundreds of ground troops to eastern Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday.

France to send troops to Afghan combat zone-report
It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers.

France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO's Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.

"Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan," it said.

Early last year, France withdrew 200 special forces soldiers who had been operating under U.S. command in Afghanistan, but Le Monde said Paris was now expected to sanction the return of the special forces. About 50 remained to train Afghan commandos.

A presidential spokesman declined to confirm or deny the newspaper report. "The president has not made a decision. We are in discussion with our partners, inside NATO but not exclusively," he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2008, 16:03