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Britain to provide more equipment for troops in Afghanistan

Britain will send more vehicles and helicopters to Afghanistan as part of measures to strengthen support for British forces fighting the Taliban, the official website of the prime minister's office said on Sunday.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid a surprise visit to Helmand province of southern Afghanistan Saturday, pledging that more help would be given to soldiers to protect them from roadside bombs.

His visit came amid mounting domestic pressure as recent polls showed most Britons want their troops to come home. Rising insurgency in Afghanistan has threatened to hurt Brown in the general elections in June next year.

Taliban's threats have also led to lower turnout in Afghanistan's presidential elections earlier this month. British troops, alongside Afghan and other allied forces, were on patrol as voters went to the polls.

"We are doing everything in our power to deal with the explosive threat and the devices that are put in by the Taliban," Brown said.

The prime minister said he had talked with the frontrunners in the Afghan elections, including incumbent Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, to emphasize the training of more Afghan forces to strengthen their ability to fight insurgents.

"I have made it absolutely clear to them that we expect over the next year that they will train - and we will work with them to do so - around 50,000 more Afghan forces so that Afghan police and army can take more responsibility for their affairs in this country," he said.

During his visit to Helmand province, Brown met British troops at Camp Bastion and Afghan police officials in Lashkar Gah.

More than 200 British soldiers have been killed since the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force began operations in late 2001. Currently, there are about 9,000 British troops in Afghanistan.

 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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