This year "vital year" for Afghanistan: British PM

22:01, June 10, 2010      

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) speaks to the media with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul June 10, 2010. Cameron arrived in Afghanistan for talks with President Karzai on Thursday, his first visit as prime minister to a country that his new coalition government has set as its top foreign policy priority. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

The visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday described the current year as a "vital year" for post-Taliban Afghanistan and called for more progress in the militancy-hit county.

"This is a vital year, this is a year we have to make progress, progress for saving Afghan people," Cameron told reporters in a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"I want to see real progress this year because obviously no one wants to see British troops to stay in Afghanistan for day longer that is necessary," he added.

The relationship between Britain and Afghanistan is very important relations, he further said.

"For me the issue of Afghanistan is most important foreign policy issue," the British Prime Minister emphasized.

Prime Minister Cameron also said that, "Our ever rising focus must be to help the Afghans and to help Afghanistan to take control of its own security and that should be our purpose to focus on building up the Afghans national army and police."

He also said that his government backs the strategy made by President Obama and the top NATO-and U.S. commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal.

He said that as British Prime Minister came to Afghanistan to ensure British troops have all protection and all equipment.

Cameron who paid his first visit as Prime Minister also pledged 66 million pounds sterling (98 million U.S. dollars) to tackle the problem of the deadly lethal weapon - the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat which often claim military and civilians' life.

"We are doubling the number of British teams to counter the IEDs," he said.

Britain has some 10,000 troops within the framework of NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province to ensure security there.

Britain has lost 294 military personnel since 2001 in Afghanistan and 108 of them died only in 2009; while 49 service members have been killed in Afghanistan since beginning 2010.

Source: Xinhua
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