French special forces officer killed in Afghanistan
A French special forces officer was killed Saturday in clashes with Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry and the military said in a joint statement. The statement gave no details of the death of the officer of a marine commando unit, the second French soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan. Some 200 French special forces troops under US command are fighting guerrillas of the former Taliban regime in southeast Afghanistan, the statement said. Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie had sent her condolences to the family of the dead officer, who was not identified, the statement said. France has more than 800 troops in Afghanistan, of whom 600 are in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Another 35 are helping to train the Afghan army. A member of the special forces was killed by a mine in southern Afghanistan in September last year, but French casualties in the war-torn country have been generally light. Two soldiers serving with ISAF were wounded by a home-made bomb north of Kabul in October. Alliot-Marie said on a visit to the Afghan capital in December that Paris planned to send several hundred more men to Afghanistan by the middle of this year.