55% of French Want Troops out of Afghanistan

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55% of French Want Troops out of Afghanistan

PARIS (AP): A majority of French people want their troops pulled out of Afghanistan, a poll suggested on Friday, days after an ambush there killed 10 French soldiers.

A survey in Le Parisien daily showed 55 percent of respondents think France should leave the NATO mission fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, compared to 36 percent who say they should remain following Monday’s bloody attack.

The ambush, east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, was the deadliest for French forces in years and has sparked widespread criticism of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision in April to boost France’s contingent in Afghanistan by 700 troops to about 2,600.

France’s lower house of parliament said on Friday the country’s defense and foreign ministers would appear Tuesday before a panel to answer lawmakers’ questions about the incident. In a statement, the National Assembly also said a delegation of lawmakers from across the political spectrum would travel to Afghanistan soon as part of a parliamentary investigation into the attacks.

Despite the mounting criticism, Sarkozy has stressed his commitment to keeping French troops in Afghanistan. At a funeral ceremony Thursday for the 10 victims, the French leader pledged to stay the course in Afghanistan, saying: “We don’t have the right to lose there.’’

The poll suggested the French are nearly equally divided on Sarkozy’s handling of Afghanistan, with 48 percent of respondents saying they have confidence in his handling of the issue, compared to 46 percent who said they don’t.

The survey, by the CSA polling agency, was conducted nationwide with 1,008 people on Thursday. No margin of error was given.


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