France said on Tuesday it would wait until Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Paris on Friday before deciding 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 and armed forces chief to Kabul after four French soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan soldier.
Paris has 3,600 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 end-2012 and the rest by 2014.
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.
Sarkozy's Socialist rival Francois Hollande has pledged to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of this year if he wins the presidential election held in two rounds in April and May.
Speaking to lawmakers in the National Assembly, Juppe said: We shouldn't panic.
We should not confuse an orderly retreat with a hasty withdrawal. When I hear of an immediate withdrawal by the end of 2012, I am not sure this has been thought through. There are first military conditions to respect, Juppe said in response to a question from former Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius, tipped to be a future foreign minister.
Karzai is due in Paris to sign a cooperation treaty.
The killings in the Taghab valley of Afghanistan's eastern Kapisa province were the latest in a series of incidents in which Afghan troops have turned on Western allies.
Defence Minister Gerard Longuet will submit a report to Sarkozy on Tuesday outlining what Karzai is planning to do to improve security for foreign troops.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon said while the act of an individual did not call into question the integrity of all the Afghan army, France could not accept that its soldiers were killed by other soldiers when they were training.
At the same time, let there be no doubt about France's will to complete its mission in coordination with the other 47 countries. This mission is not over, he told lawmakers.
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 expanding the Afghan security forces so they can take over 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.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Le Monde newspaper he understood Paris' concern, saying: We have to review the question of recruitment of these soldiers and when necessary take new measures.
But he said it was in France's interest to continue its training mission to ensure Afghanistan's transition.
The Taliban said it had recruited the Afghan soldier who killed the French soldiers. But the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Tuesday it was premature to say the Afghan Taliban were behind the killings.
(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Janet Lawrence)