The border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan form a “crucible of terrorism” that Western powers must combat for their own safety, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday.
Brown was on a one-day visit to Afghanistan in which he toured British bases in the south and discussed strategy with President Hamid Karzai. He was also set to visit Pakistan where he would meet with President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Stability on the streets of London depends on stability in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Brown said.
The border areas “are the breeding ground, the crucible of terrorism,” he told reporters in Kabul.
Britain, the second-largest contributor to NATO forces in Afghanistan with about 8,000 troops, has committed to temporarily increase that number to about 9,000 for elections this summer.
The British, who primarily are fighting in Afghanistan’s volatile south, recorded 51 deaths in 2008 and 15 more so far this year.
In Pakistan, Brown said UK is taking a “complimentary approach” and supporting Pakistani authorities and army in their efforts to beat back Taliban fighters. Asked for specifics, Brown said he would be discussing this with Zardari.