May 25 - French President Francios Hollande makes an unannounced trip to Afghanistan to discuss the withdrawal of French troops. Sarah Sheffer reports.
New French President Francois Hollande makes an unannounced visit to French troops in Afghanistan. Hollande met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace, just days after seeing him briefly at the NATO summit in Chicago. The French president came to explain his decision to accelerate the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan later this year. The plan is at odds with the NATO timetable for troop withdrawal, set for the end of 2014. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRANCE'S PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "The challenge now is to think about France's role in a different way, usefully, with what must remain of our military cooperation. And we must have economic and cultural cooperation, ensuring that our two countries may, in line with their own history - and you have spoken about the long history which unites us - ensure that France and Afghanistan are able to continue the development of democracy." France has been asked to contribute just under 200 million U.S. dollars a year for long-term funding of Afghan forces. Hollande has signalled that he will commit to nothing until it is clear how the money will be used. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters