French President Francois Hollande is already having to back off his campaign pledge to withdraw all French forces from Afghanistan this year, The Washington Post reports.
Hollande's desire to withdraw France's 3,400 military personnel — the fifth largest contingent in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force — two years ahead of schedule has created friction with the United States and NATO. Hollande is expected to broach the issue with President Obama in a visit to the White House ahead of the G-8 summit Friday.
Hollande has since clarified that he would only withdraw “combatant” troops, leaving behind hundreds of military trainers. Removing all military personnel on such a short timetable would require France to leave behind much of its equipment, the Post reported, including top-of-the-line armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery.