French President Francois Hollande makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan
French President Francois Hollande makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan

Newly-elected French President Francois Hollande made a surprise visit to the Afghanistan capital Kabul on Friday.

Reports suggest Hollande will be meeting French troops in Afghanistan and will probably be meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well.

The French president was accompanied by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

He was expected to spend only a few hours on Afghan soil.

In his first visit to the country, Hollande arrived at the Kabul airport at around 08:30 local time, reported AFP.

Hollande made it clear at both the G8 and Nato summits last week that France would withdraw its troops by the end of 2012, two years earlier than the Nato deadline of 2014 and a year earlier than former president Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal. This was one of Hollande's major election promises.

According to reports, Hollande is meeting the troops reportedly to explain his decision on withdrawal.

In the more than a decade old Afghan war, close to 80 French troops have died and more than 3,000 of them are still stationed in Afghanistan.

France is the fifth largest contributor to Nato troops.