KABUL: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says his country will maintain a steady pace to the drawdown of its 4,000 troops with the goal of transitioning to a civilian mission by 2014.
Sarkozy says the death of Osama bin Laden and the rising tide of democracy in the Arab world mean that Afghanistan is no longer in danger of being overtaken by terrorists.
He visited French troops on Tuesday.
He says the French will continue a measured drawdown of troops as they increase their civilian efforts in areas including agriculture, health and governance programs.
The French government has said that about a fourth of its troops will be out of Afghanistan by the summer of 2012. Sarkozy says French troops in the Surobi area on the outskirts of Kabul will be the first to leave.