PARIS - French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet has flown to Afghanistan on a previously unannounced visit to meet with his nation's troops and Afghan leaders.
The Defence Ministry announced his arrival in Afghanistan on Sunday, saying he was visiting a military hospital and a detachment of French helicopters. He is to meet with French soldiers at various bases as well as Afghanistan's political and military authorities.
Some 3,850 French troops are deployed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission fighting the Taliban, mainly in Kapisa and the Surobi district north and east of Kabul.
It was unclear whether Longuet — appointed defense minister in late February — would discuss efforts to win freedom for two French journalists kidnapped in December 2009. (CP)