US, France eye faster Afghanistan exit

Other News Materials 5 May 2011 09:17 (UTC +04:00)

The US and France are mulling over plans to accelerate the withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan following Osama bin Laden's death, the French foreign minister says, Press TV reported.

Speaking on France 24 TV on Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said, now that the al-Qaeda chief is dead, a faster exit of troops from Afghanistan by 2014 is "one of the options we're going to consider. The Americans are also thinking about it," the Associated Press reported.

On late Sunday, US President Barack Obama stated that the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks was reportedly shot in the head by US forces, who swooped down on bin Laden's compound in a helicopter-borne operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing bin Laden himself after a decade-long manhunt.

Juppe, who said France and its NATO allies would be examining how to proceed with the planned withdrawal, also noted that killing bin Laden was not the NATO's objective in Afghanistan.

Some 4,000 French soldiers are currently stationed under NATO command in Afghanistan. Last year saw a considerable spike in the number of attacks on US-led soldiers in Afghanistan with more than 710 troops killed.

Although the reported killing of bin Laden has spurred talks for a faster withdrawal from the Afghan war, British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday struck a different tone, saying bin Laden's death is clearly a helpful development, but it will not necessarily change any timetables.