Afghanistan: French troops to follow US retreat
24 June 2011
"France to withdraw from Afghanistan," headlines Le Figaro. Just hours after President Barack Obama’s announcement that a third of American forces will leave Afghanistan by summer 2012, the Elysée [French president’s office] declared that France will bring home 1,000 of its contingent of 4,000 troops between now and next year. The progressive withdrawal has been motivated by "approaching elections on both sides of the Atlantic," writes the daily. Meanwhile, Le Monde notes that when he was elected, President Nicolas Sarkozy "agreed to reinforce the French contingent, in parallel with the 2009 'surge' in US deployment. Today he is once again obliged to follow in Washington’s footsteps, but without the satisfaction of a mission accomplished."