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British PM Visits Troops in Afghanistan

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) arrives to greet soldiers at Lashkar Gah base, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, 06 Mar 2010

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

Mr. Brown arrived Saturday and spoke to British troops at camps in the southern Helmand province. He thanked them for their role in a February assault in Marjah, a former Taliban stronghold in the province. And he promised additional equipment and resources.

On Friday in London, Mr. Brown defended Britain's decision to help invade Iraq. He served as treasury chief when his country entered the war in 2003, and he made decisions about defense spending.

In Afghanistan, the prime minister rejected criticism from conservatives who said he made the trip to divert attention away from the Iraq inquiry. Mr. Brown said he had planned the trip to Afghanistan for some time.

British troops were withdrawn from Iraq, but about 10,000 are now serving in Afghanistan alongside U.S. and NATO forces.

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