Brown praises 'hero' troops in Afghanistan

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Gordon Brown paid tribute today to British troops fighting in Afghanistan, praising them as the country's true heroes.

The Prime Minister flew into Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand, on his way to the Olympics in Beijing.

He told the troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade that they were in the front line against the Taliban and preventing terrorism coming to the streets of Britain.

He said: "You know that you are on the front line in the fight against the Taliban. You know that by what you are doing here you prevent terrorism coming to the streets of Britain.

"What you are doing is part of an incredibly important process of creating not only a terrorist-free Afghanistan but an Afghanistan where there will be democracy and people will have a stake in the future for the long term."

Mr Brown paid tribute to Corporal Barry Dempsey of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, who earlier this week became the latest British soldier to be killed in the conflict.

And he likened the achievements of the British forces to the UK's Olympic medalists in Beijing.

"This week we are celebrating the Olympics where we have had great success," he said.

"But this week also I believe that our Olympic athletes and everybody else in our country will remember that you have showed exactly the same courage, professionalism and dedication.

"You make our country proud every day of the week and every week of the year. You are truly the heroes of our country.

"I wish to say how proud I am of you today."

The Prime Minister then flew on to Kabul for talks with President Hamid Karzai.