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Afghan soldier sentenced to death for killing of five French soldiers

media Nicolas Sarkozy pays homage to the four soldiers killed in Afghanistan Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

An Afghan soldier is being sentenced to death for killing five French soldiers in an attack in January, in the northeast province of Kapisa. The attack had prompted France to speed up its withdrawal from Nato operations in Afghanistan.

On 20 January, the soldier turned his gun on four unarmed French soldiers, who were killed immediately, and 15 others were wounded as they jogged on their military base. A fifth soldier died later on from his wounds.

The attack, known as a “green-on-blue”, describes a situation whereby Afghan forces turn their weapons against Western allies. The latest similar incident involved three British soldiers who were shot dead by a man in an Afghan police uniform.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

While Taliban insurgents claim responsibility for some of the attacks, the majority are believed to come from Nato forces working closely with their Afghan counterparts for training.

Often tensions arise from cultural differences and antagonisms. In this case the Afghan soldier, Abdul Sabor, reportedly told security officials after he was arrested that he had reacted to a video showing US Marines urinating on the corpses of dead Afghans.

Sabor is due to be sentenced by hanging in a military court, a defence ministry source told the AFP news agency. Although capital punishment is allowed under Afghanistan’s constitution, President Hamid Karzai has said he is reluctant to sign death warrants. Instead, many of the prisoners sentenced to death are believed to remain in prison.

France is the fifth largest contributor to Nato’s International Security Assistance Force. The end of 2014 marks the deadline France has set for itself to pull out the majority of its troops from Afghanistan.


  • 130,000 foreign troops are currently in Afghanistan;
  • There are 340,000 Afghan soldiers and police;
  • There will be 352,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the autumn;
  • More than 3,000 civilians were killed in conflict-related incidents in 2011;
  • 83 French soldiers have been killed since the 2001 US-led invasion;
  • The US is to keep at least 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of combat troops in 2014.



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