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French general says US Afghan strategy not working

media French Defence Minister Hervé Morin addresses French troops in Afghanistan … AFP

A French general is to be summoned to explain himself after criticising US strategy in Afghanistan in the media. In a case which has echoes of the uproar over US General Stanley McChrystal comments in a US magazine, General Vincent Desportes has been labelled “irresponsible” by Chief of Staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud.

Washington’s Afghan strategy “doesn’t seem to be working”, Guillaud told Le Monde newspaper.

“Factually, the situation has never been worse,” he said, pointing out that June has seen the highest number of foreign troop casualties since the Afghan war began.

Guillaud also said that President Barack Obama was wrong to send only 30,000 extra soldiers.

“Everybody knew that it should have been either zero or 100,000 more,” he told the paper.

On Friday military top boss Guillaud said that he will demand an explanation from Desportes, who runs the college which trains the country’s most elite officers.

The general’s comments were “unwelcome” and “irresponsible”, since they were made by a serving officer, he told Europe 1 radio.

France has contributed 3,750 soldiers to the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan.

June deadliest month for foreign forces

June saw the highest death toll for foreign forces in the nine-year Afghan war:

  • 102 troops were killed;
  • That figure is three times the number of US and Nato soldiers lost in May;
  • General David Petraeus says that his forces are up against an “industrial-strength insurgency” and suggests fighting will intensify in coming months;
  • No statistics are available for Afghan casualties.

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