Sarkozy Visits French Soldiers Following Brutal Taliban Ambush | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.08.2008
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Sarkozy Visits French Soldiers Following Brutal Taliban Ambush

French President Nicolas Sarkzoy plans to fly to Afghanistan Tuesday after reports that 10 French soldiers were killed in a battle outsie Kabul. It's the worst attack on NATO troops in more than three years.

French soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force patrol as Afghan boys pass by

French troops are part of NATO's ISAF contingent

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will reassure troops of France's support after the French contingent suffered its worst losses since the US-led invasion in Afghanistan began in 2001.

"My decision remains firm. France is committed to continue the fight against terrorism, for democracy and freedom. The issue is just," Sarkozy said.

Afghan officials reported that 10 French soldiers were killed in a two-day battle with Taliban insurgents in the Surobi district of the Kabul province. Another 21 were reporteldy wounded, the French president's office said on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Taliban insurgents ambushed the French reconnaissance patrol from three sides on Monday, Reuters news agency reported. France used air support to extract the units from the ambush, the French government said.

Taliban attacks increasing

Only 12 French troops had previously been killed in Afghanistan. France has 1,670 troops in the country as part of NATO'S International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Sarkozy agreed to send an additional 700 soldiers to the region this year after the US asked for more support in its effort to curb Taliban violence.

Taliban fighters have increased attacks in the provinces bordering Kabul in recent months.

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