In a surprise visit to the main UK military base in southern Afghanistan, Mr Brown paid tribute to four Royal Marines killed on Friday and told troops that Britain was safer because of the work they are doing fighting the Taliban.
A 13-year-old suicide bomber killed three Royal Marines south of the town of Sangin, while a fourth died in a separate explosion.
The youth approached a unit south of the Sangin area of Helmand province yesterday with a bomb which detonated, killing two soldiers from 45 Commando and one from Commando Logistics Regiment.
Earlier in the day, a Marine from 45 Commando was injured in a blast in the Sangin area. He died later of his wounds while being taken to the military hospital at Camp Bastion.
Speaking to troops in Camp Bastion, in Musa Qala, Mr Brown said: “It is a terrible commentary on the Taliban that they should use a 13-year-old child to be a suicide bomber to kill some of our British troops. These men will never be forgotten for what they have achieved on behalf of our country.”
Mr Brown said the UK’s 8,100-strong contingent of troops in Afghanistan was playing a vital role.
“There is a chain of terror that comes from the Pakistani and Afghan mountains right to across Europe and can end up very easily on the streets of Britain,” said Mr Brown, standing alongside President Hamid Karzai at a Kabul press conference. “British people are safer today because we have our troops working with the Afghan people to act against terror.”
But the Prime Minister also said the world could not rely only on the two biggest contributors, Britain and the United States, whose president-elect Barack Obama has pledged to send in more troops.
“In future, there must be proper burden sharing and that’s something which we will insist upon,” said Brown. “As we look forward with president Obama’s plans now about to come forward, then burden sharing is very much a part of that.”
Mr Brown said he was in Afghanistan to “take stock” of the situation.
Fund first, ask questions later:
He announced Â£7 million in funding to encourage registration in the election and said a taskforce of British officials had been offered to Afghanistan to root out corruption.
He also called on Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together to ensure cross-border stability in the mountainous area seen as a militants’ hideout between the two nations.
“Joint action between Pakistan and Afghanistan… is essential if we’re going to have peace and stability,” he said. […]