Four French soldiers have been confirmed killed in a suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan.
The four were killed, and five injured, in an attack in Kapisa province in Afghanistan on Saturday. It was one of the deadliest attacks in months.
An enquiry into the attack has been opened by the Afghan authorities. Reports indicate a suicide bomber disguised as a woman wearing a burqa detonated the device as the French and Afghan troops were walking past.
The confirmation of the deaths came in a statement from President Francois Hollande's office. The president is to make a formal announcement on French television.
French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will go to Afghanistan tomorrow, Sunday.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in an email.
Abdul Rahman, the provincial police chief, said: "I am aware of a suicide attack on French troops in Kapisa but I don't know the number of casualties." He said it occurred in the mountainous Nijrab district.
France had previously announced it is withdrawing all of its 3,300 combat troops by the end of this year.
On a visit to Kapisa province last month, Hollande defended the decision to pull French troops out early saying the work was nearly done.
The deaths on Saturday bring to 87 the number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
jm/sb (AFP, Reuters)