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British PM Cameron pays surprise visit to Afghanistan

(Xinhua)

10:00, July 19, 2012

KABUL, July 18 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron flew to a military base in south Afghanistan on Wednesday, making a surprise trip when British and other foreign troops are starting to retreat, Afghan officials said.

Cameron landed in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gar, capital of Helmand province, where British forces are based, and met with provincial officials including the police chief and acting governor, provincial police spokesman Farid Ahmad Farhang said.

They discussed the transition of security responsibilities as Britain, and its NATO allies, prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Farhang said.

The British prime minister will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul and will address a joint press conference on Thursday, the president's spokesman Khwaja Masoom told Xinhua, without giving more details.

Currently Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, making it the second largest contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force after the United States.

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