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British PM visits troops in Afghanistan

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:10 PM EST, Tue December 20, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Cameron stops in Kandahar before Christmas
  • He shared tea with soldiers and air crews based there

(CNN) -- Prime Minister David Cameron met with British troops in Afghanistan in a previously unannounced visit to Kandahar, his office announced late Tuesday.

Cameron met with the NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. James Huggins, according to a statement from 10 Downing Street. He also got a close-up look at a Royal Air Force Tornado fighter-bomber during his stop in Kandahar, made five days before Christmas.

"The prime minister joined soldiers and air personnel in the services' canteen, where they chatted over a mug of tea," the statement said.

About 9,500 British troops are deployed in Afghanistan. Nearly 400 of them have died there since the war began in 2001, after the al Qaeda attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

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