PARIS: President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that France would pull its forces out of Afghanistan a year earlier than planned, a week after the killing of four French servicemen by a renegade Afghan soldier.

After meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Paris, Sarkozy said France had decided to transfer security in the eastern Kapisa province, where most of the 3,600-strong French contingent is based and the scene of the shooting, to Afghan forces from March of this year.

"The pursuit of the transition and this gradual transfer of combat responsibilities will allow us to plan for a return of all our combat forces by the end of 2013," Sarkozy said, adding that 1,000 troops would return in 2012.

This decision was made "in agreement with President Karzai and in agreement with our allies, in an organised and reasonable way," he said. "A few hundred" French troops would stay on after 2013 to train Afghan troops, Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy said he would encourage NATO to consider transferring all its combat operations to Afghan forces in 2013, instead of the scheduled deadline of end-2014.

French training operations in Afghanistan, suspended after the shooting, would resume on Saturday, the French president added. Sarkozy said he would speak to US President Barack Obama on Saturday.

Karzai is on a five-day European trip to sign long-term strategic partnership agreements aimed at bolstering support for Afghanistan's reconstruction and development.

He was next to travel to London to meet Prime Minister David Cameron.