France to withdraw 200 troops from Afghanistan by end October
France will withdraw around 200 troops from Afghanistan next month as part of its plans for a phased withdrawal ending in 2014, a French military spokesman said Thursday.
Colonel Thierry Burkhard told a press conference in Paris that a company of soldiers numbering around 200 would leave Afghanistan by the end of October, DPA reported.
President Nicolas Sarkozy in June announced that France would begin drawing down troops at the same pace as the United States.
Around 1,000 out of the 4,000 French troops deployed as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force are to leave before the end of 2012.
In recent weeks the government has come under pressure from the opposition Socialists to accelerate the withdrawal, as the death toll among French troops rises.
France has lost 23 soldiers in Afghanistan this year alone, out of a total 75 killed since the end of 2001.