Emily Gavarny – Staff Writer
After the recent shootings in Afghanistan, where four French soldiers were shot and killed and sixteen injured, French president Nicolas Sarkozy considered an early withdrawal of French troops.
According to BBC, since 2001, France has had 3,600 troops stationed in Afghanistan and has lost 82 French personnel. In the recent tragedy, the French soldiers were fired upon by a serviceman from the Afghan National Army after a “verbal clash” during a fitness exercise.
President Sarkozy explained how France “is at the side of its allies, but [we] cannot accept that a single one of our soldiers be killed or wounded by our allies… It is unacceptable; [I]will not accept it,” according to the BBC.
Fighting for his re-election, Sarkozy felt pressured to pull troops out as his main rival, socialist party candidate François Hollande, has promised to withdraw all troops by the end of this year.
Even if Sarkozy had carried out this decision, the effects would have been negligable. Whether it is a matter of unstable security or a method to gain favor of the French people, gradual withdrawal of French troops would not make a large impact in Afghanistan. By 2014, power will be handed back to the Afghans and the duty of the U.S. and its allies would change from combat to support.
As NATO works to expand Afghan security forces in the country, stability is close and there must be a point where the foreign presence is cut.
The reality is that the people of many European countries involved are skeptical about the benefits of staying involved in Afghanistan after attacks by Afghan soldiers on foreign troops.
Especially after the recent violent events causing the deaths of four French soldiers, it would have been logical for France to want to start to send troops home earlier than planned. It has gotten to the point where the costs have outweighed the overall benefits and too many French soldiers’ lives have been lost.
After countless years of involvement, will pulling out French troops really having any impact on the effort in Afghanistan? No. This war has lasted long enough and it is time to stop endangering lives. The troops have done their job to the best of their ability, and it’s time to go home