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Britain ends major operation in Afghanistan   2009-07-28 13:16:00

Britain has ended its first-stage major operation, dubbed Panther's Claw, in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defense said on July 27.

But the British commanders remained cautiously optimistic about the future, saying it is a long way to go to improve security ahead of the presidential elections in Afghanistan next month.

The five-week mission involved 3,000 soldiers since its launch in June and the troops will remain to secure the area won from the Taliban for three to six months.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the mission in the troubled southern Helmand province "has shown that it can bring success."

"What we've done is push back the Taliban -- and what we've done also is to start to break that chain of terror that links the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain," Brown said.

A total of 20 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this month. As of now, 189 British soldiers have died, surpassing the number killed in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

British Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth said Friday that Britain will send 125 service personnel to Afghanistan to help sustain the progress of current operations.

"Reinforcements are necessary to ensure we can maintain our operational tempo and consolidate the real progress we have made," he said.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Kevin
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