A French documentary claimsFrench soldiershad two opportunities to shoot and kill Osama bin Laden, but they were not given the go-ahead by their American superiors.

According to media reports, the documentary says French special forces hadthe leader of al-Qaedain their sights twice in Afghanistan, in 2003 and 2004.

The soldiers would have fired on him, the film says,but the order to kill simply never came from the U.S. commanders in charge.

The newspaper Le Figaro said Thursdaythatthe documentary is based on interviews of four soldiers by filmmakers Éric de Lavarène and Emmanuel Razavi, whocall their documentaryBen Laden, les ratés d'une traque (Bin Laden, the Failures of a Manhunt ).

The documentary has created a stir among government officials. The French cable network LCI says the Defence Ministry is calling the film's claims "pure fabrication."