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French DM visits Afghanistan


Kabul : French Defence Minister Herve Morin arrived here on a surprise visit on Saturday to meet his country’s troops in central Afghanistan.

The minister, who arrived in Kabul this morning, will be meeting French troops in Afghanistan’s central province Kapisa today.

This is Morin third visit to Afghanistan since his taking charge of the Defence Ministry.

Around 700 troops are being deployed to Kapisa, the province located north of Kabul and considered to be a strong base of the anti-government Talbian and Hezb-e-Islami of former Afghan premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

With the recent deployment, the number of French troops in Afghanistan will reach around 2,000.

More than 50,000 troops of the US-led coalition and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are presently operating in Afghanistan as part of peacekeeping and counter-insurgency mission.

Besides actively participating in peacekeeping and counter-insrugency measures, the French troops in Afghanistan are also imparting training to Afghan army officers on modern lines to enable them to take charge of security of their war-battered country.

On Friday, the Paris-based Action Against Hunger organistation had said that two French aid workers were kidnapped by unidentified armed men while the two were sleeping in their guest house. No group or individual claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

According to officials, the visiting French dignitary will also meet his Afghan counter-part Dr. Spanta and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul before leaving the country.