(The Hill) — Newly elected French President François Hollande will formally announce at this month’s NATO summit that he plans to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan in 2012 despite reservations from President Obama and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper is reporting.
Hollande spokesman Manuel Valls said France would use the summit to “announce the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan between now and the end of the year,” the Telegraph reports. France has about 3,400 troops in Afghanistan, the fifth largest contingent.
Hollande, who takes office next week, vowed during the presidential campaign to pull out all French forces in 2012 after four French troops were shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier.
Delivering on that promise could prove touchy for France’s relationship with NATO and the United States. An early withdrawal before 2014 would need to be agreed upon by NATO at the summit, something that seems far from assured.