British PM warns of 'difficult' times in Afghanistan

24th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister David Cameron lamented Thursday the "tragic" deaths of four British soldiers in a road crash in Afghanistan, and warned of difficult times ahead in the country.

But speaking en route to Canada for G8 and G20 summits, he vowed that Britain will stay the course in Afghanistan, and only begin pulling out when Afghans can take care of their own security.

"We're paying a very high price for what we're doing in Afghanistan," he told reporters on board his plane, which made a stopover in Halifax, Nova Scotia while en route for Toronto.

"But we are absolutely committed to making sure that we build up Afghans' security so they can take responsibility for their country's security and we can come home," he added.

Cameron was speaking after four British soldiers died in a vehicle crash in southern Afghanistan, only days after Britain passed the grim milestone of 300 deaths.

Three soldiers from 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment and one from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment died in the accident near Gereshk in Helmand province on Wednesday evening.

Cameron, calling the deaths a "completely tragic case," said: "There is no doubt that we have had a difficult few weeks in terms of casualties, and it will be a difficult summer.

"We're paying a high price, no doubt about it.

"But we would be in a worse situation if we were just to change track now, pull our forces out, and to see a country that is seeing a bit more stability track backwards into instability and support for terror."

The four British deaths made June the deadliest single month for US-led foreign forces in the nearly nine-year conflict, according to an AFP tally.

They took the British death toll since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan to 307 -- three days after it passed the landmark of 300 dead on Monday.

© 2010 AFP

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