Karzai: U.S. failed to consult Afghans on airstrike

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The attack on the French forces took place as they were responding to a report of a bomb planted under a bridge in the main market area of Kapisa province’s Nijrab district, said Qais Qadri, a spokesman for the provincial government.

The bomber walked up to the soldiers and detonated his explosives, Mr. Qadri said. France’s Defense Ministry confirmed the nationality of the dead and said another five French troops were wounded in blast. The ministry said they were on an operation supporting the Afghan army but did not provide details.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in an email.

Mr. Qadri said four Afghan civilians were also wounded.

The Kapisa bombing was the second deadly attack on NATO troops reported on Saturday. NATO forces said earlier in the day that a service member was killed in a bomb attack in the east. A spokesman for the international coalition, Maj. Martyn Crighton, said the attacks were not related and happened in different parts of the east.

The latest deaths bring to 13 the number of international troops killed in June. So far this year, 189 international service members have been killed in Afghanistan.

French President Francois Hollande said he has asked his defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the chief of staff of the French army, Edouard Guillaud, to travel to Afghanistan on Sunday in a show of support for France’s troops there.

Speaking on French television from Tulle, France, Mr. Hollande said an aircraft already has left to fly to Afghanistan to repatriate the wounded as soon as possible.

The recently elected Mr. Hollande campaigned on a promise to pull all of France’s combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year — well before the 2014 goal for the majority of NATO combat troops to have left the country.

Last month, Mr. Hollande announced that 2,000 combat troops would be withdrawn but that he would leave around 1,400 soldiers behind to help with training and logistics.

France now has 3,400 troops and 150 gendarmes in Afghanistan. Under Mr. Hollande’s plan, some would stay behind to help send military equipment back to France, and others would help train the Afghan army and police. He did not provide a breakdown for the roles of the 1,400 soldiers who will remain past 2012 or how long they would stay.

Mr. Hollande said Saturday that the drawdown of French troops in Afghanistan will begin in July and finish by the end of the year.

Kapisa province has been a particularly deadly posting for French troops. In January, an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops on a base in the province.

Associated Press writer Greg Keller contributed to this report from Paris

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