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Afghan loses death penalty appeal over French deaths

KABUL: A military court has rejected an appeal by an Afghan soldier sentenced to death for killing five French troops in an insider attack in January, an official said Monday.
So-called green-on-blue attacks have spiraled this year, with a total of 61 NATO troops killed by members of the Afghan security forces, fueling distrust between the allies in the war against Taleban Islamist insurgents.
The French casualties prompted France to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned.
Afghan army soldier Abdul Sabor was convicted in July of killing the soldiers on January 20 while they were jogging within their base in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan.
Sabor is the only Afghan convicted of carrying out such an attack to have been sentenced to death.
“The appeal court has confirmed the decision made by the primary court — his appeal was rejected,” defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said.
The case will now be automatically reviewed by a higher court, and Sabor, who was 21 at the time of the attack, will have the right to appeal to President Hamid Karzai for clemency.
The decision to put France on a fast-track exit timetable sparked concern among some members of the US-led military coalition, which is not due to end its combat mission until the end of 2014.