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In Afghanistan, Brown snubbed by British vets

A group of severely injured British veterans have refused to speak to Prime Minster Gordon Brown during his visit to Afghanistan.

The soldiers, being treated at the Selly Oak hospital ward in Birmingham, had either asked for the curtains to be closed or deliberately avoided the prime minister as he visited the hospital.

According to several of those present, the veterans had described Brown’s September 2 visit as “opportunistic” and a “waste of time.”

The soldiers, who have sustained some of the worst injuries seen in Afghanistan, were reportedly furious about equipment shortages and poor compensation for their injuries.

Recent opinion polls suggest that the UK public has moved sharply against the war in the face of rising British casualties, with close to 70 percent favoring an early withdrawal from the conflict.

Last week, however, Brown announced plans to send some 500 more British troopers to the war-torn country. This is while the British premier had earlier floated the idea of a withdrawal in 2010 — an idea deemed by the opposition leader as mere propaganda ahead of the June 2010 election.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron said on Saturday that it was pretty unlikely to see a troop withdrawal in 2010.

“I don’t want us to raise false hopes. I think it’s pretty unlikely that you are going to see a reduction in British troop numbers next year,” Cameron said on his visit to the southern province of Helmand in Afghanistan.

The number of casualties have nearly doubled over the past six months, taking the figures to its highest since the troops were first deployed in Afghanistan in 2001.

Despite the presence of around 110,000 foreign soldiers in the war-ravaged country, Afghanistan is still grappling with unprecedented violence.

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