French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested on Friday that the withdrawal of his country’s troops from Afghanistan could be accelerated, following the killing of four soldiers by an Afghan serviceman.
“The French army is not in Afghanistan to be shot at by Afghan soldiers,” Mr. Sarkozy told diplomats during a reception at the Elysee palace, confirming the deaths of four French troops in Kapisa province.
“If the conditions of security are not clearly re-established, the question of an early return of troops to France will be raised,” he warned.
An Afghan security official who spoke on condition of anonymity put the number of injured at 16 but French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet told BFM TV that eight were wounded during a joint training exercise, one of them seriously.
The incident took place at a military base in the Tagab district of Kapisa province, where most French soldiers are stationed.
“Abdul Saboor, the shooter, has been arrested by the coalition forces,” the Afghan official said.
Mr. Sarkozy said he had dispatched Longuet to Kabul.
Longuet said the attack was “unacceptable.” He added that he would analyse the situation between now and Tuesday and make recommendations to Mr. Sarkozy on a possible early troop withdrawal.
In the meantime, all training and support operations by the French army in Afghanistan had been suspended, he said.
The incident, which brings to over 80 the number of French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001, comes less than a month after an Afghan soldier shot dead two French troops, also in Kapisa.
France has about 3,600 troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
Some 400 troops returned home last year, as part of a phased withdrawal of coalition troops to be concluded by 2014.