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British FM Defends Afghan Mission


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is defending his country's mission in Afghanistan, after eight British soldiers were killed in a 24-hour period.

In a letter to British lawmakers, Mr. Brown said despite recent casualties, British military commanders in Afghanistan are succeeding in their objectives. He said the course being undertaken is the right one.

Earlier on Saturday, British Foreign Minister David Miliband said Britain will not be safe until it has established security in Afghanistan. He said British troops in Afghanistan are fighting for the "future of Britain," adding that the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been used to launch deadly attacks on his country and the United States.

Eight British soldiers were killed Friday in separate incidents in Afghanistan. The casualties bring Britain's death toll in Afghanistan to 184, five more than the number of British deaths in the Iraq war.

More than 8,000 British troops are fighting in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, alongside thousands of U.S. Marines in a major offensive against Taliban militants.

Elsewhere in southern Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Saturday that Afghan police and U.S.-led coalition forces killed 19 suspected militants in two separate clashes in the Charchino district of Uruzgan province.

Separately, officials say four Afghan security guards were killed in an insurgent attack in Ghazni province on Saturday.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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