British PM visits UK troops near Afghan front line

Gordon Brown became the first British leader to visit troops close to one of Afghanistan's most volatile front lines Saturday, saying that Europe's streets were safer from terrorists because of the fight against the Taliban. But it was unclear just how far he would go to match a planned US troop surge. Brown is leading a review of the UK's strategy in Afghanistan and a troop announcement is expected to Britain's Parliament next week. A few hundred reinforcements have already been sent from a base in Cyprus on a temporary deployment to the southern Helmand province. American leaders say thousands of incoming US troops will be sent to reinforce British forces in the south, a major shift in strategy. Most American forces have been deployed in eastern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan. But Helmand and neighboring Kandahar have suffered from the country's worst violence the last two years. "It is right that the Americans propose to bring more troops into Afghanistan, but it is also right that the burden-sharing means that others have to do more," Brown said visiting troops in Helmand and meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. "We are the second largest force in Afghanistan and we will expect as part of the burden sharing that other countries will do more."