According the the Canadian Press, "Some NATO members - including France, Germany, Italy and Spain - have refused to regularly send troops to fight alongside the British, Canadian, Dutch and U.S. forces on the front lines of battles with the resurgent Taliban in the restive south and east."
India-Defence.com reported this morning that:
France plans to withdraw around 200 special forces from southern Afghanistan at the start of next year following a recent surge in violence, reported the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday.
The French Defence Ministry was not immediately available for comment. The French military is participating in various missions in Afghanistan, and the small special forces team has been under US control since 2003 as part of operation Enduring Freedom.
Nine French troops have died fighting in Afghanistan, and Le Journal du Dimanche said the relatively high death toll had played a part in the decision to withdraw the forces.
The US was also downscaling its Enduring Freedom operation, the newspaper said, adding that some 1,000 French troops deployed around Kabul under NATO control would be staying put. Afghanistan is going through its bloodiest phase since US-led troops drove the Taliban from power after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and NATO has called on its member countries to send in more soldiers to help combat the upsurge in violence.
France, however, declined to dispatch more troops last month, saying it already had its hands full with the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, where it has committed some 2,000 soldiers.
Associated Press reported later that France's defence minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, said her country would be willing to send its troops to Afghanistan's violence-plagued areas as temporary reinforcements if requested, but, would not be sent permanently. It sounded to me like another case of French double talk to defend its weak position.
There has been an ongoing 'intifada' in France for the past several years. World Tribune reported in October that there has been 2,500 French police officers injured in 2006 alone by roving gangs of islamists. Michael Thoomis, Secretary General of the Action Police Trade Union said, "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more. It is an intifada, with stones and firebombs."
One has to ask Ms. Alliot-Marie if the problems at home with the islamists who continue to battle the police may be the underlying reason for French white flag waving. I am at a loss for words in regards to Germany, Spain, and Italy. It may be that the leftists in their countries have gained more power. At least for now, Germany, Spain and Italy troop strengths remain unchanged.
For more reporting on France's "enthusiasm" to fight in Afghanistan:
- France willing to send troops to Afghanistan's front lines (as temporary reinforcements only)
- McCain: Afghanistan needs Europe troops
- All French troops to be withdrawn