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France Starts Draw Down In Afghanistan

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) speaks with French troops deployed in Tora, Afghanistan, earlier this year.
French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said that his country has started to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

Longuet said on October 19 that the first 200 French troops based in the Surobi district of Kabul Province, would depart Afghanistan and that by year's end some 1,000 French soldiers would have been pulled out.

Longuet said Afghan government troops would occupy French positions in Afghanistan as the French withdrawal proceeds.

France expects to have all its 4,500 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

compiled from agency reports