Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) listens to a briefing by a British army officer at the forward operating base Sterga II, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. -Reuters Photo
LONDON: Prime Minister David Cameron paid a pre-Christmas visit to British troops in Afghanistan on Monday and reiterated that no British forces will be in a combat role there by the end of 2014.
Cameron spent the unannounced visit at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan, accompanied by former England and Liverpool footballer Michael Owen, his Downing Street office said.
“The big drawdown is now taking place. This is 2013 and as I've said, there'll be no troops in a combat role after 2014,” Cameron said in a video on the website of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“We made that promise, we're going to be meeting that promise.
“And you can see here in Camp Bastion, the drawdown, the Afghan national forces are taking over the work and we're bringing our troops back home and I'm pleased to be doing that.”
Britain currently has around 5,200 troops in Afghanistan, having reduced the number from 9,000 at the start of the year.
Cameron said Owen had joined him to support an initiative between England's Football Association, the English Premier League and Afghanistan's football association to support the game in the war-torn nation.