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France to Withdraw Hundreds of Troops From Afghanistan

VOA News June 24, 2011

France says it will pull hundreds of troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, following a similar announcement by the United States earlier this week.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that the withdrawal comes at a time when the security situation in Afghanistan has improved and the threat of terrorism has diminished with the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The French president spoke during the European Union summit in Brussels. Sarkozy did not specify the number of French forces that will be leaving Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced 10,000 American troops will be coming home by the end of the year -- with a total of 33,000 U.S. forces pulling out of Afghanistan by September of 2012.

France has 4,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan. The last international combat troops are set to leave the country in 2014.

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