Furor In France Over Afghanistan Role

The death of ten French soldiers and wounding of twenty in one battle with Taliban forces has created a growing conflict among French people as to exactly the role their nation and its armed forces should be performing in Afghanistan. The deaths were the highest suffered by the French army in over 24 years. President Nicolas Sarkozy immediately rushed to Afghanistan to show his support for the French army and assured the fighting men,”France is resolved to pursue the fight against terrorism, for democracy and liberty. I don’t have any doubt about that. We have to be here.” The Taliban ambush came only months after Sarkozy agreed to send an additional 700 troops to the fighting zone.

The opposition Socialist party is raising questions about France’s objectives in afghanistan. Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande called for a parliamentary debate on French policy in Afghanistan. In an interview he commented: “It is the Afghans themselves who need to provide security for Afghans and not an operation of occupation.” Right wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, denounced the fighting as “an endless war that the United States is waging in this country in its own interests.” President Bush is extremely unpopular in France so those opposing fighting in Afghanistan undoubtedly will connect the war there with American objectives and interests.

After seven long years of fighting and claims by Bush the war would soon be over, most Europeans don’t trust him and have scant interest in what happens in Afghanistan.