14 Dec 2008

Surprise visit by PM to Afghanistan

12:04 pm on 14 December 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he spoke to troops fighting the Taliban and held talks with President Hamid Karzai.

Mr Brown condemned what he called the "terrible" killing on Friday of two British soldiers there.

He later took a helicopter to an observation post near Musa Qala, close near where the troops died and met Gurkha soldiers serving there. Officials said the trip on Saturday took him right up to the front line.

Mr Brown also urged other nations to send more troops to support Afghanistan, saying the world can't rely on the two biggest contributors, Britain and the United States.

Britain has more than 8000 troops in Afghanistan.

The total number of British military personnel who have lost their lives in Afghanistan since the start of operations there in 2001 is 132.

Mr Brown announced $US10 million in funding to encourage registration in next year's presidential election and offered a taskforce of British officials to root out corruption.