France said on Tuesday it would wait until the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday to decide whether to speed up the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan.
President Nicolas Sarkozy last week suspended all French operations on the ground and sent his defence minister to Afghanistan after four French soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier.
President Karzai will be here on Friday and we'll talk to him about it and then we will decide whether we need to accelerate (the withdrawal) or not, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told Canal+ television. The President (Sarkozy) and Prime Minister will decide during the week.
Defence Minister Gerard Longuet will submit his report following his return from Kabul to Sarkozy later on Tuesday.
Paris has almost 4,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the 130,000-strong NATO-led force there. French troops mainly patrol Kapisa, a mountainous province near Kabul. One thousand French troops are due to leave by the end of 2012, and the rest by 2014.
We do not need to ask permission from the United States, but we will do it in consultation with them, Juppe said.
U.S. State Department Under Secretary Wendy R. Sherman arrives in Paris on Tuesday and Afghanistan is expected to be on the agenda for her talks with French officials.
NATO has been rapidly expanding the Afghan security forces so that they will be able to take over responsibility for security when Western combat forces leave in 2014.
Paris has said it wants security guarantees for its troops from the Afghan authorities and clarity on how Kabul was recruiting its new soldiers.
The Taliban said it had recruited the Afghan soldier who killed the French soldiers, the latest in a string of attacks in which Afghan troops turn on their Western allies and mentors.
But the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Tuesday it was premature to say the Afghan Taliban were behind last week's killings of French soldiers.
(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Tim Pearce)