AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Thursday 27 December 2012
Last update 26 December 2012 11:55 pm
PARIS: Paris will take in a “few dozen” Afghans who have worked alongside French troops in the war-ravaged country for 11 years and whose security is at risk at home, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.
The ministry did not give exact numbers but said the bulk comprised people who had worked as translators on the ground.
On Dec. 15, France flew its last combat troops out of Afghanistan, two years before allied nations in the 100,000-strong NATO mission led by the United States are due to recall their fighting forces.
At the height of its involvement, France had 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan as the fifth largest military contingent in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), behind the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.
A French newspaper reported 170 Afghans would be “allowed to enter French territory from January to start a new life.” It said the criteria for choosing them would be two-fold — whether they faced a security threat after the pullout of NATO-led foreign troops and their ability to integrate into mainstream French society.
Separately, a suicide car bombing at a US military base near a flashpoint city in eastern Afghanistan killed at least three Afghans and wounded seven others yesterday, officials said.
The blast, powerful enough to rattle windows four kilometers (two miles) away, took place at the entrance to Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost.
It came two days after an Afghan policewoman shot dead a US NATO adviser inside Kabul police headquarters, the latest “insider” attack by a member of Afghanistan’s security forces on their foreign allies.
Khost province shares a porous border with Pakistan’s tribal belt, which lies outside government control and where US officials say the Taleban and Al-Qaeda have carved out rear bases for operations in Afghanistan. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said yesterday’s attack was a suicide car bombing. Camp Chapman lies on the edge of Khost city, which has been hit by at least three major suicide attacks this year.
The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack. They have waged a bloody insurgency against foreign and Afghan forces since being ousted from power in a 2001 invasion led by the United States.