France pulls last troops from combat roles in Afghanistan
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
- France pulls out its last units engaged directly in combat in Afghanistan
- About 1,500 French troops will remain to remove equipment and train Afghan forces
- French medical personnel will also continue to serve at a military hospital in Kabul
- The United States still has 68,000 troops in Afghanistan
(CNN) -- France pulled its last troops engaged directly in combat out of Afghanistan Saturday, in line with a promise by President Francois Hollande to accelerate his country's withdrawal from the long-running conflict.
About 1,500 French troops remain in Afghanistan to remove equipment and to help train Afghan forces, Defense Ministry spokesman Thierry Burkhard said.
They are likely to stay there for about six months, he said.
The troops who left Saturday will spend a couple of days in Cyprus to decompress and rest before rejoining their families in France for the holidays, according to CNN affiliate BFM-TV.
Top general expects IED problem to rise in Afghanistan
Some 2,500 French troops in total have been withdrawn from Afghanistan over the past year, the channel reported.
French personnel will continue to run Kabul's international airport and serve at the city's military hospital into 2014, BFM-TV said.
France was one of the bigger contributors of troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
The United States, whose troops make up the bulk of the force, still has some 68,000 personnel in Afghanistan.
Coalition forces are working to get Afghan security forces ready to take charge of security after all NATO-led troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
What does future hold for Afghanistan?
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2013 -- Updated 0135 GMT (0935 HKT)
CNN's Anna Coren reports on how U.S. Special Forces are not just fighting terrorists in Afghanistan.
May 24, 2013 -- Updated 0924 GMT (1724 HKT)
With U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan, CNN's Anna Coren reports on a Taliban firefight lasting more than 90 minutes.
April 1, 2013 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
Mallika Kapur has the story of a young Afghan graffiti artist who, despite Taliban threats, pushes for free expression.
-- Updated GMT ( HKT)
For the first time, a Pakistan government served its full term and the lack of a military coup attempt shows government is more stable than many think.
February 16, 2013 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
President Obama has revealed new details about the troop withdrawal. But there are several key issues that still must be resolved.
February 11, 2013 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
Author William Dalrymple's new book "Return of a King" looks at the history of foreign-led wars in Afghanistan.
CNN.com's 'Home and Away' initiative honors the lives of U.S. and coalition troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
February 12, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
Former Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha receives the Medal of Honor for his role in one of the worst ground attacks of the Afghanistan war.
February 12, 2013 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
On Monday Esquire magazine published a massive profile of the Navy SEAL who says he shot Osama bin Laden.
The mother of a little Afghan girl cannot face her daughter. She looks down in shame as she explains why she must hand her over to drug lords.
January 27, 2013 -- Updated 2221 GMT (0621 HKT)
Aman Mojadidi, an American of Afghan descent, is an artist who has worked in Kabul and chosen particularly provocative themes.
January 10, 2013 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with President Barack Obama to discuss the post-2014 American presence in Afghanistan.
U.S. underestimates importance of Islam in making Afghanistan a better place, say authors.
November 30, 2012 -- Updated 0228 GMT (1028 HKT)
The number of people forced to flee their homes is increasing and the conditions for the displaced are far below international standards.
June 8, 2012 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
Unexploded munitions from war games in Afghanistan make a dangerous play ground for local children.
Her story of torture by the Taliban made her the iconic face of the oppression of women in Afghanistan.
Today's five most popular stories