June 23rd, 2011
06:56 AM ET

France to follow U.S. timetable

France will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, following a timetable similar to the one U.S. President Barack Obama announced, the French president's office said Thursday.

"This withdrawal will be done in consultation with our allies and with the Afghan authorities," the statement from Nicolas Sarkozy's office said.

All French soldiers could be out of Afghanistan by 2013, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet told France Info radio Thursday. France has 3,935 troops in Afghanistan, according to the NATO mission there.

Obama said Wednesday that the U.S. would withdraw 33,000 U.S. troops by September 2012. That will leave just under 70,000 Americans there.

– CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

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