18 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-197

French Government strengthens its support for Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Last week, three French Rafale aircraft joined Operation Serpentaire, the aerial support operation of the ISAF mission.

The three aircraft are based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where three Mirage 2000Ds are already positioned. The French Government decided to increase their support of the aerial component following the Riga Summit, in November 2006.

The Rafale complement will stay for the ISAF mission until at least July 2007.  They can fly in support of the ISAF mission all across Afghanistan.

From March 15, further air support was provided by France, with a complement of three more Rafales based onboard the Charles-de-Gaulle Aircraft Carrier. The Charles-de-Gaulle is now deployed to the Indian Ocean in support of the ISAF mission. These aircraft may be used in the air strike role in south Afghanistan, alongside the nine Rafale positioned for fleet support.

France has also added one C135 aerial refueling aircraft to the two C135s based in Manas, Tajikistan currently operating within the ISAF mission.  A Hawkeye aerial surveillance aircraft has also just been provided to provide extra coverage of Afghan airspace.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/