France Begins Troop Pullout From Afghanistan

PARIS -- France's military says the country has begun its planned drawdown of troops from Afghanistan by pulling out 200 soldiers -- reducing its total deployment there to 3,800.

France has pegged its withdrawal in proportion to the planned U.S. pullout of troops through 2014 when Afghan forces are expected to take over full responsibility for security in the country.

The French Defense Ministry said 200 French troops were withdrawn Wednesday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said in July that France would start withdrawing its troops by year-end. Most are stationed in outposts north and east of the capital Kabul.

Polls suggest most French want their nation to end its military role in the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan -- and the unpopular Sarkozy is facing a possible re-election campaign next spring.