French president leads funeral for 4 French troops

AP News
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6:57 AM
French president leads funeral for 4 French troops

President Francois Hollande has led a funeral ceremony for four French soldiers killed in Afghanistan just weeks before the start of an early troop withdrawal by France.

In the courtyard of the site of Napoleon's grave, Hollande decorated on Thursday each of the coffins with a starred medal on a red ribbon, honoring the four posthumously as Knights of the Legion of Honor, France's highest award.

Hollande said an early pullout of French troops from Afghanistan, to begin "in the coming weeks," is not without danger.

The four troops were killed in a suicide attack on June 9, bringing to 87 the number of French troops killed since 2001. Of the 3,400 troops in Afghanistan, 2000 will leave by year's end. Those staying will help with training and logistics.