France to mull faster exit from Afghanistan
PARIS – France and the U.S. are considering speeding up their withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, the French foreign minister said Wednesday.
France has about 4,000 troops in in the U.S.- and NATO-led missions in Afghanistan, and minister Alain Juppe said France and its allies would be examining how to proceed.
Speaking on France 24 TV, Juppe said NATO's goal in Afghanistan was not kill bin Laden but to help its government establish authority and bring peace and democracy for its people.
Now that bin Laden is dead, Juppe said accelerating the planned withdrawal by 2014 is "one of the options we're going to consider. The Americans are also thinking about it."
The al-Qaida leader died during an American special forces raid in Pakistan early Monday.
Juppe, who held a working dinner Tuesday with Pakistan's visiting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, said that the killing of bin Laden was "good news."
"The (terror) threat is still there and it would be very imprudent to lower the guard. But in all of that, he was a symbol, and the disappearance of this symbol is a good thing for all those who think that human rights, democracy, liberty are essential."