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Karzai in London to meet new British PM

Afghan President Hamid Karzai travelled to London on Saturday to meet new British Prime Minister David Cameron and discuss ties between the two countries, the presidential palace said.

world Updated: May 15, 2010 14:48 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai travelled to London on Saturday to meet new British Prime Minister David Cameron and discuss ties between the two countries, the presidential palace said.

Karzai went from Washington after a high-profile visit to soothe ties with US President Barack Obama, whose administration has been critical of Karzai for failing to battle corruption that many say is hurting US-led efforts to fight the Taliban.

Afghanistan was high on the agenda when new Foreign Secretary William Hague, a former Conservative leader who lost to Tony Blair in the 2001 election, met his U.S. counterpart Hillary Clinton in Washington on Friday.

Britain is the second-largest troop contributor to NATO-led forces in Afghanistan with 9,500 troops based mainly in southern Helmand province, where scores of British soldiers have been killed since the war started in late 2001.

Last year, 108 British troops were killed in Afghanistan, according to independent website icasualties.org.

The British military has struggled against Taliban insurgents in Helmand and the former Labour government was criticised for failing to provide soldiers adequate equipment.

"Our immediate priorities are making sure that we get to grips with Afghanistan and tackling nuclear proliferation (in) Iran," Hague told The Times newspaper this week.