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British PM Pledges Ongoing Support To Afghanistan

Blair (left) speaking in Kabul on November 20 (epa) November 20, 2006 -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair said in Kabul today that his country will remain committed to supporting Afghanistan for "as long as it takes."

Speaking at a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Blair also called on NATO to bring its commitment to Afghanistan into "sharp focus."

Earlier today, Blair visited British troops at their main base in the southern province of Helmand.

"Here, in this extraordinary piece of desert, is where the future, in the early 21st century, of the world security is going to be played out," he said. "And you are the people that are doing the difficult work and you should know not just that you are appreciated, but the importance of the work you do is appreciated as well."

Britain has 5,000 troops in Afghanistan, mainly in the south where they face growing Taliban attacks.

Blair arrived in Afghanistan from Pakistan, where he and President Pervez Musharraf agreed to continue their countries' cooperation in the fight against terrorism and religious extremism.

(AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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