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Author Topic: French Rafale jets take off from Afghan base for first time  (Read 4580 times)

Offline tigershark

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French Rafale jets take off from Afghan base for first time
« on: February 12, 2008, 06:58:21 PM »
French Rafale jets take off from Afghan base for first time
KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AFP) — Two French Rafale fighter jets took off from the main NATO air base in southern Afghanistan for the first time Monday in support of international efforts against extremists.

The multi-purpose jets, which arrived at the base in the volatile southern province of Kandahar last week, set off on an air patrol with French Mirages also stationed at the Kandahar Air Field, an AFP correspondent said.

Rafale aircraft, in service for two years, took part last year in a four-month mission in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) but were then based in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.

Their relocation to the Kandahar Air Field, a base for 11,000 soldiers from 25 countries, has put them in one of the most volatile parts of Afghanistan where a Taliban-led insurgency was at its fiercest last year.

A Canadian general commands ISAF forces in southern Afghanistan, where French jets operate alongside Dutch F-16s and British Harriers.

Canada has warned it will withdraw its 2,500 troops at the start of 2009 unless NATO sends 1,000 extra troops, as well as helicopters, to back their mission in Kandahar.

France is in talks with Canada about deploying French reinforcements in the south, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Sunday.

France's 1,515 soldiers in ISAF are based mostly in Kabul and surrounding areas.

Link
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5j2u8xmKyTE4Cg6OptZOjDLJvs9fg

 



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