PARIS, June 10 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande has announced plans to withdraw French troops from Afghanistan following the deaths of four soldiers.
The soldiers were killed Saturday morning by a suicide bomber dressed as a woman in a burqa, Radio France Internationale reported.
The troop withdrawal announced Saturday will be a full year earlier than previously planned and two years before NATO allies are scheduled to leave the war-torn country.
"This operation will begin in July, it will be put into place and completed by the end of 2012. Until then, everything should be done to make sure that our troops fulfill their obligations, but with the highest level of security and the utmost vigilance for the lives of our soldiers," Hollande said.
About 3,500 French troops are stationed in Afghanistan, mostly in Kabul and Kapisa, Khaama Press reported. They form the fifth largest contingent of NATO's 130,000 troops.
With Saturday's deaths, 87 French troops have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war.