Afghan war 'not without end', Miliband tells UK troops

Labour leader Ed Miliband has told UK troops serving in Afghanistan that their country is united behind them.

In his first-ever trip to the country he addressed soldiers at the UK's Camp Bastion base in Helmand province.

Mr Miliband told them the mission in Afghanistan was above party politics and insisted they had the country's "support, respect and admiration".

But he told the soldiers that the conflict was "not a war without end".

For security reasons, details of the Labour leader's trip were not reported by the UK media until it ended.

He toured the force's main base at Camp Bastion on Friday, meeting injured soldiers.

Speaking to troops who had themselves just arrived there he told them that the mission in Afghanistan was not a matter of party politics.

"It is about doing what is right for our country. A more stable Afghanistan will lead to a more safe Britain."

Image caption Mr Miliband met the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, US Gen David Petraeus

He assured them they had the support of the whole country and that he himself wanted to do more to help them.

Doing more for soldiers and their families was a "priority" he said, and also doing more for "those who leave the armed forces so that they have the support they need."

Accompanied by shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, he also met the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus.

Mr Miliband travelled to Shawqat, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting recently.

He later held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the capital Kabul. According to Labour aides, the two men discussed the political situation in Afghanistan and the process of transition.

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