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[英伦广角] 2010-03-08 布朗突访阿富汗

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From a grilling on one war to a personal appearance of the heart of another, Gordon Brown touched down in Helmand to meet British troops as the row about whether he deprived the military resources raged at home. If he thought this world wind trip will take the pressure off, he was suddenly mistaken. But he plough on with what he came to do, celebrate the success that was Operation Moshtarak.

“I’m here as a prime minister to thank our troops. The most important thing I can do is to thank them for their courage, their professionalism and dedication.”

Gordon Brown insisted the mission in Afghanistan is far from over. The next phase is to boost Afghan police and army numbers. As he saw all recent recruits being put through their paces in Helmand he put his money where his mouth is, Pledging to send 150 extra British peace trainers out to Afghanistan this year.

Seen for himself the damage inflicted by roadside bombs, he pledged an extra 18 million for metal detectors to counter IED attacks. An unveiled 100 million pound program to replace the controversial snatch vehicles linked to more than 30 deaths here and in Iraq. Welcome news but promises which will be greeted by some with suspicion.

“This is his eighth visit to the country, almost certainly the last before the election. And the timing has inevitably attracted accusations over political stunts of photo opportunity, designed to push controversial headlines about resources off the front pages and create new ones about him as a strong leader supporting his forces. ”

As he paused to remember those who’ve lost their lives here came news of another death. A solider from 3 Rifles was killed in an explosion near Sangin. A reminder of women needed of the price been paid for what is being seen as progress here. A reminder too that whichever man assume the mantle after the election, Afghanistan will loom large for years.

Michelle Clifford, sky news. Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
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