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Britain roiled by troop deaths in Afghanistan

July 12, 2009|Associated Press

LONDON — The deaths of eight British soldiers in Afghanistan within 24 hours triggered a debate Saturday that could undercut support in Britain for the war.

Images of hearses and anguished relatives that appeared in news reports put the government under pressure to explain Britain's involvement in the war and to defend the quality of its support for combat troops.

The deaths Thursday and Friday pushed Britain's toll in Afghanistan to 184 -- five more than British deaths in Iraq.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended his country's course in a letter to a senior parliamentary committee. Commanders in Afghanistan believe that they are succeeding in their objectives, he said.

Britain's 8,000 troops are fighting in southern Helmand.

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