France will resume its training operations in Afghanistan after suspending its program for a week following the death of four French soldiers.
However, the NATO coalition country is going to end its Afghanistan mission in 2013, a year earlier than scheduled. French security duties in the Kapisa province, where the majority of French soldiers are stationed, will be transferred to Afghans.
President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the changes exactly a week after a member of the Afghan National Army opened fire on a group of French military personnel, killing four and wounding several others.
We have decided, in full agreement with President [Hamid] Karzai, to ask NATO to consider a complete transfer of NATO's combat missions to the Afghan Army over the course of 2013, Sarkozy said during a meeting with the Afghan president in Paris on Friday.
After the death of the French soldiers last week, Sarkozy mulled the idea of an immediate withdrawal if security measures did not improve. France has sent the fourth-largest military force to Afghanistan, mostly for use in training International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers.
The Afghan people, while expressing their condolences and regret, are grateful to the people of France for the years of very strong support given to Afghanistan, Karzai said.
A total of 82 French troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of the war. The shooting last Friday was the second such incident in a month.
France will pull out 1,000 of its 3,600 troops by the end of 2012.