France to begin pullout from Afghanistan next month; Hike in Pakistan’s 2012-2013 defense budget despite poor economic shape
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  • (JUNE 4-10)

    According to reports, the French President Francois Hollande on June 9, 2012 said that France will begin its pullout from Afghanistan next month and complete it by December 31, 2012, after four French troops were killed on the eve of key elections. Hollande said France would pay a “national homage” to the men killed in a Taliban suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan earlier in the day and that the five other wounded would be repatriated rapidly. It would be worth noting that the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan was one of Hollande’s presidential electoral promises. Hollande said, it “will begin in the month of July, will be carried out and be completed at the end of 2012.” 1

    In another development, reports noted that Pakistan’s new defense budget increases funding for the Army and Air Force and slightly decreases it for the Navy. The fiscal 2012-2013 defense budget, in current U.S. dollars, allocates $2.8 billion to the Army, an increase of $128 million; $1.2 billion for the Air Force, an increase of $64 million; and $562 million to the Navy, a $1.4 million decrease from the previous year. The defense budget does not, however, usually includes procurement funding and is comprised mainly of wages and running costs with increases fueled by ongoing counterinsurgency efforts. 2