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French troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. Some 2,000 French soldiers are due to leave Afghanistan this year, ahead of the 2014 deadline for most NATO troops to leave the country. This comes during the same week that Afghan forces were able to thwart a mass attack by insurgents. But all is not well on the war front according to Russian president Vladimir Putin who said this week that NATO should stay to complete their job. But on the ground NATO officials offer their assurances that the mission in Afghanistan is on target. Brigadier General Gunter Katz in Kabul was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. (SOUNDBITE) (English)BRIGADIER GENERAL GUNTER KATZ, SAYING: "Our assessment is that the security situation is improving on track and we are able to handover security to the Afghan security forces and that our scheduled way is justified." More than 3,100 foreign solders have died in Afghanistan since the war was launched in 2001. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.