In a stunning (hardly) announcement today, France has announced that it will be withdrawing it's troops from Afghanistan.
The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban militia are gaining strength despite the strong engagement — some 32,800 troops — in NATO's International Security Assistance Force. France has balked at sending its 1,100-strong NATO contingent outside the relatively safe Afghan capital, Kabul.
"There is a general reorganization of our (troops)," Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said during a visit to Afghanistan. The minister's remarks were aired on France-Info radio.
Among planned changes is a "withdrawal of special forces from Jalalabad in the coming weeks," she said.
Are we really surprised? What amazes me the most is that France has had more than it's fair share of dealings with terrorism through the years. If any nation in Europe should understand the clear and present danger presented by allowing these groups to continue to exist, it's the French. Yet and still, they plan to withdraw, citing "reorganization" as the reason.
Take a good, hard, look, America, at what happens when you allow the socialists to take charge of the government. Our socialists disguise themselves by calling themselves Democrats.
However, this will not, in the long run, affect operations in Afghanistan, methinks. The French have pretty much not been participating for the last year or better.
On Saturday, U.S. Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) said Afghan, U.S., Canadian, British and Dutch forces have done most of the fighting in Afghanistan over the past year at a time when ambushes, suicide bombings and other attacks have multiplied. Those nations have also borne the brunt of the casualties, and McCain called on NATO nations to send troops into more dangerous areas of Afghanistan.
The elite troops have been deployed in southeastern Afghanistan since July 2003 to help bolster the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban and the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Caron said the decision to withdraw the French special forces was made "in concert with our partners, notably the Americans."
I reckon it must be mighty damned hard to put down a good bottle of French wine to go after an international criminal.
They will be continuing to supply air support, however...
Despite the pullout, Alliot-Marie said that France intends to maintain its air power "which has backed up coalition forces numerous times" and is adding two helicopters in the advanced zone between Jalalabad, in the southeast, and Kabul.
Two helicopters. HOOWAH.
Once and always, an American Fighting Man
Jules Crittenden has a few words about the French too.