EC-665 Attack Helicopter - Tiger
(photo by Erwan de Cherisey)
Task Force Musketeer was the name of the French aviation task force in Afghanistan. French military forces have been involved in Afghanistan since 2001 and for most of that time the French ground forces were supported by French rotary wing aircraft of many different types. The French helicopters performed a wide variety of duties to include air support, MEDEVAC, personnel movement, resupply, convoy escort, and reconnaissance. Erwan de Cherisey is a guest writer for the Afghan War News Blog. He has wrote a detailed history of France's aviation support in Afghanistan entitled - Task Force Musketeer. Erwan de Cherisey has wrote numerous articles for many different publications about aviation, Afghanistan, defense and other topics. He holds a master's degree in contemporary history and travels to many conflict zones around the world to report on peacekeeping, stability, and security operations. Erwan will provide articles and book reviews to the Afghan War News Blog on an occasional basis and we are proud to have him on the writing team! Read more about Erwan de Cherisey.
A ceremony was held in Kabul by French troops to mark the end of their deployment and the end of the NATO ISAF mission. Part of the French contingent ran the military side of Kabul International Airport. This function was turned over to the Turks. France withdrew most of its combat troops from Afghanistan over two years ago. The country had lost 89 soldiers and saw 700 wounded since 2001. Read more in "French ceremony as new NATO Afghan mission takes over", Daily Mail, December 31, 3014.
A unit of the French RAID has been training and advising elements of the Afghan National Police (ANP). RAID is short for Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion - learn more about RAID on Wikipedia. Read about the training efforts of RAID with the ANP in "As casualties soar, Afghan police taught how to stay alive", Mail Online, November 26, 2014.
The Taliban would seem to have control of most of Kapisa province. Tagab district is especially at risk. The Afghan soldiers in Tagab district stay confined to their base. If they want to visit the local bazaar they can only go for an hour at 9:00 am; and only without their weapons. That is the deal the Taliban have offered them. Read more in "Hour's Drive Outside Kabul, Taliban Reign", The New York Times, November 22, 2014. Check out a video about a French, American, and Afghan combined operation to retake the Alasay Valley (Alasay district) in Kapisa province (2009 2 mins).
The government of France will spend 10 million Euros for agricultural development projects in central Maidan Wardak and Bamyan provinces of Afghanistan. Read more on the story here, Khaama Press (Afghanistan online news), October 14, 2014.
Over 2,500 French troops are stationed in eastern Afghanistan in Kabul Province. They have made some good progress over the last few years in Sarobi District - a part of eastern Kabul Province. The French are based out of Forward Operating Base Tora. The French commander cites a number of reasons for the progress - the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) are becoming more professional; the ANA officers - usually from ethnic groups of northern Afghanistan - are acting "nationally not ethnically" in a Pashtun area; the district officials are not "particularly corrupt" to the extent they alienate the public against the Afghan central government; and western donor nations are pumping lots of money into the district. The French commander hopes that the Afghan security forces can take the lead for security in the province in early 2011. Read the news article in "French General Mixes Formula for a bit of Afghan Calm", The New York Times, October 13, 2010.