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(FILES) A picture taken aboard Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier shows French Rafale fighter on November 26, 2009 at the Mediterranean Sea. French navy plane Rafale F3, taking part in a NATO mission over Afghanistan crashed in the sea off Pakistan after taking off from Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier on November 28, 2010. Pilot is safe after having been rescued. – Photo by AFP

PARIS: France’s defence ministry says a French Rafale fighter jet has crashed into the waters off Pakistan after its pilot parachuted to safety.

The Rafale was operating from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is stationed in the Arabian Sea to support the fight in Afghanistan.

The cause of Sunday’s crash was unclear and an investigation has been opened. The ministry said the Rafale plunged into waters near where the aircraft carrier is stationed, more than 100km off the coast of Pakistan in the Arabian Sea.

The pilot was unharmed and was picked up by helicopter.

France has about 3,850 troops engaged in missions in and around Afghanistan.—AP