French soldier killed in Afghanistan

A French soldier serving with the NATO-led international coalition in Afghanistan was killed in an insurgent attack at the weekend, the president's office announced on Sunday.

He was the 54th French serviceman to die in Afghanistan since the first deployment of international forces in 2001, it said.

The attack happened Saturday in the early evening in the Alasay valley in Kapisa province in the northeast of the country.

A column of armoured vehicles was attacked by insurgents, the office said in a communique.

Two other soldiers were wounded in the attack, one critically.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has sent his condolences to the family and friends of the dead soldier, the communique said.

Around 4,000 French soldiers are currently deployed as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which numbers around 150,000.

So far this year 53 soldiers, two of them French, have been killed.

A record 711 foreign troops died in the country in 2010, making it the deadliest year for them since a US-led invasion toppled the hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.

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