Afghan war effort keeps Britain's streets safe: Brown
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tried to boost military morale and public support for the Afghan war effort Sunday following the deaths of eight British soldiers in two separate attacks within 24 hours last week in Afghanistan.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service the offensive against Taliban insurgents is succeeding, despite the heavy toll.
"I know that this has been a difficult summer so far and it is going to continue to be a difficult summer," the British prime minister said.
But to stop fighting the Taliban now would make Britain "less safe," he said.
"There's a clear line, a chain of terror, that links what's happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the streets of Britain," he said.
Brown is under pressure to explain why British troops are in Afghanistan and whether they're getting enough support.
Britain has lost 184 soldiers in total in tough fighting in Helmand. A total of 179 British military and defence personnel have died serving in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Asked if he was worried the combat operation in Helmand province could become Britain's Vietnam, Brown said: "The operation … is showing signs of success."
U.S. President Barack Obama took time out from his African visit to Ghana to praise and perhaps motivate his key ally in Afghanistan.
"The contribution of the British is critical," Obama said In an interview with Sky News broadcast Sunday. "The mission in Afghanistan is one that the Europeans have as much if not more of a stake in than we do."
Obama said the emphasis in Afghanistan may shift from military to diplomatic and reconstruction efforts after national elections in Afghanistan to choose a president and provincial councils in August.
Security has improved, says Canadian general
Since 2002, 124 Canadian soldiers have been killed serving in the Afghanistan mission. One diplomat and two aid workers have also been killed.
Mounting casualties and roadside bomb attacks are more a reflection of increased activity by the international coalition than a sign of a strengthening insurgency, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan said in a weekend interview with The Canadian Press.
Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance said the Taliban-led insurgency is in "disarray" because "much of their leadership has been eradicated."
"Yes, there are times when we take killed or wounded in action, but it pales in comparison to the killed and wounded that the insurgency has taken when facing us," said Vance.
He said that based on polls and informal feedback, the security situation in Kandahar province, where the Canadians are based, has improved since February 2008.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press