David Cameron makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan
As the United Kingdom joins the United States and other allies in combating the Islamic State militants that are rampaging across Iraq and Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Friday in order to honor the British soldiers who fought and died there in an effort to combat Islamic extremism.
More than 450 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the war waged by a NATO coalition, the same war which has seen more than 2,300 American lives taken. The United Kingdom is expected to completely withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year following more than a decade of military activity in the country.
“They have paid a very high price for our engagement in Afghanistan; they have done vital work here,” Mr. Cameron said, referring to British troops in a war that, like the conflict in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, drew widespread opposition from Britons. “We should remember those who paid the ultimate price and those who were injured through the work they did.”
By visiting Afghanistan, Mr. Cameron’s 13th such visit, he is set to become the first world leader to meet President Ashraf Ghani, who took office on Monday after lengthy political wrangling after a contested election. Mr. Cameron said that British troops were instrumental in denying Al Qaeda a haven while preparing the Afghan military to look after the nation’s security.
Read more about the story at Reuters.