British PM's security reviewed after Afghan scare: report

27th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron's office has been asked to review his security after he narrowly avoided a Taliban attack on a recent visit to Afghanistan, The Times newspaper reported Friday.

Cameron's trip to a forward operating base in the volatile southern province of Helmand in June was called off at the last minute after intelligence suggested a threat, aides to the premier said at the time.

A government source told The Times that the threat to the prime minister on his first trip to Afghanistan since taking office in May was "much closer than anyone said at the time".

The newspaper said that NATO intelligence services had intercepted two Taliban telephone conversations about the proposed attack, one of them including precise information about the helicopter Cameron was travelling in.

Senior military figures have demanded Cameron's Downing Street office urgently review his security arrangements, the paper said.

Changes to future trips to Afghanistan, where Britain has about 10,000 troops deployed as part of an international coalition fighting Taliban militants, could see a media blackout imposed until Cameron leaves the warzone.

In the June trip, Cameron gave a televised press conference in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before setting off for Helmand, where he was due to visit troops at Shahzad forward operating base.

According to The Times, intelligence about the threat was received within five minutes of Cameron's helicopter taking off and the pilot was ordered to divert to the main British base at Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand.

© 2010 AFP

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