British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned that Britain will not risk more lives in Afghanistan unless the new Afghan government cracks down decisively on corruption.
Brown gave the warning in a speech in London: "Sadly, the government of Afghanistan had become a byword for corruption. And I'm not prepared to put the lives of British men and women in harms' way for a government that does not stand up against corruption. So President Karzai agreed yesterday that the first priority of his new government would be to take decisive action against corruption."
Brown also linked military action in Afghanistan to security on Britain's streets.
He said the main terrorist threat facing Britain today comes from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that Britain "cannot, must not, and will not walk away" from the region.
Britain currently has about 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, the second-largest foreign force in the country after the United States, and Brown recenly announced an increase of about 500 soldiers.
Brown's speech came after the deaths of seven British soldiers in the past week, including five who were shot dead by an Afghan police officer.
compiled from agency reports