November 17, 2010

PARIS – The war in Afghanistan is a trap for all parties involved and France will discuss how to draw down its troop presence at a NATO summit this week, the newly-appointed defence minister said on Wednesday.

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“Afghanistan is, I would say, a trap for all the parties involved there,” said Alain Juppe, a former prime minister who was appointed defence minister on Sunday in a reshuffle of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s cabinet.

Juppe’s remark added weight to expectations that France will start bringing home troops based in Afghanistan next year and withdraw from the country entirely ahead of a 2012 presidential election.

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France has about 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, although the U.S.-led war has been largely unpopular at home. At least 50 French soldiers in Afghanistan have been killed since 2001.

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