<P>French soldiers depart Afghanistan</P>
France has withdrawn its combat troops from Afghanistan after more than ten years in the war-torn country, in satisfaction of Prime Minister Francois Hollande’s election campaign vow.
The Netherlands and Canada have already pulled out their combat soldiers from Afghanistan.
France’s withdrawal comes two years ahead of NATO’s own pull-out agenda.
"Today is the end of our forward operations. By the end of the year, we will have 1,500 French troops remaining in Afghanistan in non-combat operations," said Lt. Col Guillaume Leroy, a spokesman for the French military, in a statement.
About 500 of those French forces will remain in Afghanistan to help train its own nascent army.
Since the middle of 2008, most of the French military presence in Afghanistan concentrated in Kapisa, a region between Kabul and the Pakistani border where the insurgency by anti-government militants is particularly active.
At one time France had as many as 3600 troops in the country, making it the fifth largest NATO contingent. At least 85 of them have died during the war.
Almost all remaining foreign combat troops are scheduled to quit Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
This article is copyrighted by International Business Times, the business news leader