Five French soldiers killed in Afghanistan suicide attack
Five French soldiers and one Afghan civilian were killed in a suicide bomb attack in the eastern city of Joybar on Wednesday, says President Nicolas Sarkozy. The blast comes one day after Sarkozy returns from his visit to Afghanistan.
The attack took place while a security unit was protecting a meeting of a local tribal council. Four more soldiers and three local civilians were also seriously wounded.
The bomb attack is the most deadly blow to French forces in Afghanistan since 8 August 2008, when 10 soldiers were killed and 21 were injured in an ambush by Taliban guerrillas in Uzbin, east of Kabul.
In a statement by the Elysee Palace on Tuesday, President Sarkozy offered “the victims’ families and loved ones his most sincere condolences and shares their pain. He wishes the wounded swift recoveries.”
Sarkozy also expressed France’s determination to continue to work within the International Security and Assistance Force to re-establish peace and stability in the country.
Tuesday’s deaths brings the number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 69.
The deaths come as somewhat of a political blow to Sarkozy, who was in Afghanistan to announce that a quarter of France’s 4,000-strong contingent would come home before the end of next year. Polls have shown that most French voters oppose the war.
The French parliament held a minute of silence on Wednesday afternoon for the soldiers killed on Tuesday.
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