French opposition calls for debate on Afghanistan involvement

Other News Materials 19 August 2008 22:35 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - France's main opposition party has called for a debate on the country's military deployment in Afghanistan, following the death of ten French soldiers in a Taliban attack on Tuesday.

Socialist Party chief Francois Hollande said the parliamentary foreign affairs committee ought to convene immediately.

"What end does this war have?" he said. "How many troops does one need to reach that goal? How does the balance of military action and rebuilding since 2001 look? There are many questions that need an urgent answer."

In April the Socialists unsuccessfully pushed for a motion of no confidence in the government over the increase in troops sent to Afghanistan. The Socialists thereby "underlined the risk of an uncontrolled escalation" in Afghanistan, said Hollande.

President Nicholas Sarkozy's office has the power to engage in military action without parliamentary consent, although constitutional reforms passed by the French parliament in July now require the president to inform the parliament of any troop deployment overseas.

A spokesman for the ruling UMP party warned that the death of the soldiers "should not be used to stoke party politics."