British PM abandons Afghan base visit due to attack risk

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Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to cancel a visit to a British forward military base in southern Afghanistan on Thursday due to suspicions he might come under attack, his aides said.

Telephone intercepts, including one referring to a possible rocket attack on a helicopter, suggested insurgents had caught wind of the expected VIP visit and were preparing to react.

British troops have been at the forefront of efforts to quash the Taliban insurgency in Helmand, suffering heavy losses in the province.

Cameron, who was making his first visit to Afghanistan as prime minister, did manage to visit an agricultural school near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah built with British funds, after talks in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai.

Since operations began to topple the Taliban government in October 2001, 294 British personnel have died in Afghanistan.

© 2010 AFP

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