Hague leads delegation for talks in Kabul

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Foreign Secretary William Hague has flown into Kabul ahead of talks with political and military leaders in the Afghan capital.

He was heading a senior ministerial delegation also consisting of Defence Secretary Liam Fox and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

The visit is the first by members of the new coalition Government and reflects the high priority being given by it to the conflict.

It comes the day after the death of another British serviceman was confirmed, the 286th in the campaign and the first fatality since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took office.

The trio of ministers, all Tories, are to conduct a series of meetings today with senior Afghan politicians including President Hamid Karzai.

They will also be meeting the US commander of the international forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, and other military top brass.

Speaking on their RAF flight into Kabul, the ministers indicated they were not planning any significant breaks in UK policy on Afghanistan.

Mr Hague said there had been "some important changes" in strategy recently, pointing to President Barack Obama's intervention last year as well as the London Conference chaired by then prime minister Gordon Brown.

"We want to give that strategy the time and support to succeed," he said.