The British prime minister has paid a surprise visit to troops in Afghanistan. Gordon Brown’s show of support comes amid criticism at home that his government is failing to adequately supply the British contingent of just over 9,000 troops in Afghanistan. He called on the Afghan government to train more soldiers to relieve the burden:
“I think that we could get another 50,000 Afghan army personnel trained over the next year. Stepping that up means that the Afghans take more responsibility for their own affairs. They’re backed up by partnering and mentoring done by the British forces. Now that, working with a big lift in the Afghan forces, is going to be the next stage in post-election effort in Afghanistan.”
As Brown arrived, the counting continued in Afghanistan’s presidential election. Current leader Hamid Karzai holds a significant lead with around a third of ballot papers counted.
Karzai is credited with just over 46 percent of the vote, fifteen percent more than his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah. The former foreign minister has accused Karzai of massive electoral fraud, a claim that could delay an official result which had been expected sometime in September.