Afghan President to visit Britain this week

Hamid Karzai will also inaugurate exhibition of Afghan artefacts in London.

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will travel to Britain on Monday for a two-day visit to meet Prime Minister David Cameron and open a major museum exhibition about his country`s heritage, an official has said.

A spokesman for Karzai, Siamak Heravi, said that the President would discuss issues including the planned transition of responsibility for security from international troops to their Afghan counterparts in 2014.

"Karzai will meet the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, foreign secretary and defence secretary," Heravi said on Sunday.

He added that Karzai would also inaugurate a major exhibition of Afghan artefacts at the British Museum in London, which is due to open to the public on Thursday.

Britain has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), mainly in the troubled south.

That makes it the second largest contributor to the international force fighting the Taliban and other insurgents after the United States.

Cameron said last year that all British combat troops will be out of Afghanistan before the end of 2015.

Over 350 British troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001, when the Taliban were ousted from power by a US-led invasion.

Many of the artefacts at the British Museum show have been saved from several decades of civil war and Taliban rule, which saw important parts of Afghanistan`s cultural heritage destroyed.

This included the giant Bamiyan Buddhas in central Afghanistan which were blown up by the Taliban in 2001.

Bureau Report

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