All French combat troops will be home by the end of the year, French President Francois Hollande announced in Kabul today.
He said it was right to defy Nato and leave a year earlier than planned.
"It's a sovereign decision. Only France can decide what France does," the Socialist leader told troops in Kapisa province.
"The time for Afghan sovereignty has come." Mr Hollande said the Afghan people should "take the path they choose freely."
He claimed that, while "the terrorist threat that targeted our territory has not completely disappeared, it has been partially suppressed."
France has 3,400 soldiers in the country, the fourth largest troop contingent after the United States, Britain and Germany.
Two-thousand of those are combat troops.
Mr Hollande did not say what the remaining 1,400 soldiers would do or how long they would stay.
"We want France to have a presence in Afghanistan differently from how it did in the past," he said, adding that France wants to be "useful in a different way."
France has signed an agreement with Afghanistan that calls for "co-operation" after 2014. Other countries, including the United States, have signed similar accords.
French military spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said the number of trainers who stay will be "in the hundreds" and that those dealing with the pullout's logistics will leave bit by bit along with the withdrawing troops.
Mr Hollande's right-wing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy had pledged to withdraw all troops by the end of 2013.