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Asia-Pacific

France's flagship aircraft carrier looks bound for Afghanistan

media French soldiers patrolling in Afghanistan AFP

France's flagship Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier will likely be deployed in the coming months to Afghanistan, the staff officer of Paris’s armies, Admiral Christophe Prazuck, said Wednesday.

“We are in the middle of working on a program that would involve aerial support for the military operations in Afghanistan,” Prazuck said.

The Charles de Gaulle, the pride of the French Navy, has already carried out four major military operations in the Afghan war.

The campaigns, which lasted four to seven months each, took place in Pakistan in 2001-02, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Previously, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had announced that the Charles de Gaulle would be deployed to the Gulf region and the Indian Ocean by the end of this year.

Sarkozy made the comments during a visit on-board the aircraft carrier on 10 June, 2010.

Sarkozy had not indicated whether the two combat aircrafts currently aboard the Charles de Gaulle, the Rafale and Super Etendard, would be deployed as well.

If so, they would provide aerial support to Nato troops on the ground fighting insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Charles de Gaulle has the capacity to carry up to 35 airplanes and five helicopters.

France has some 3,500 soldiers serving in a Nato mission in Afghanistan. They've been deployed there since January 2002, following the fall of the Taliban regime.
 

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