Francois Hollande, the French president, has made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit some of the French troops he wants to pull out later this year and meet Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.
France would co-ordinate with NATO allies the withdrawal of its combat troops from Afghanistan, Hollande said on Friday during a visit to a military base in Kapisa, where most French troops are stationed in Afghanistan.
The French head of state said the pullout would take place with "good understanding with our allies" particularly US President Barack Obama.
Hollande said to "explain himself" to French soldiers why he had decided to pull them out of the war-torn country a year earlier than his predecessor planned, and two years before other NATO combat troops.
"It's a sovereign decision. Only France can decide what France does. It will be conducted in good understanding with our allies, especially President Obama, who understands the reasons, and in close consultation with Afghan authorities," the newly elected president said.
"Without having totally disappeared, the terrorist threat to our territory, as with that to our allies from Afghanistan, has been partially curbed," he added.
Hollande was accompanied by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Hollande, making the latest in a whirl of foreign trips since his May 15 inauguration that has taken him to Berlin, Washington, Chicago and Brussels will pledge to keep to a long-term co-operation treaty signed with Afghanistan, where France has around 3,400 troops posted.
Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glass, reporting from Kabul, says: "Hollande and Karzai will discuss what role France will have in Afghanistan after 2013, as France will need to honour the commitments made by Nicolas Sarkozy, when he was president."
At least 83 French soldiers have been killed during their deployment, which began in 2001.