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‘British help in Afghan war vital’

President Barack Obama waded into Britain's debate over the war in Afghanistan, calling Britain's contribution critically important in the struggle to prevent terrorists from establishing a stronghold in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

world Updated: Jul 12, 2009 23:45 IST

President Barack Obama waded into Britain's debate over the war in Afghanistan, calling Britain's contribution critically important in the struggle to prevent terrorists from establishing a stronghold in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In an interview with Sky News broadcast on Sunday, Obama acknowledged the rising death toll _ Britain has now lost more troops in Afghanistan than it did in Iraq _ but said the mission is vital to US and European security.

“My heart goes out to the families of those British soldiers,” he said.

Obama also said US and NATO-led troops had pushed back the Taliban in Afghanistan but he warned that there was still a long, hard campaign ahead.