Labour leader Ed Miliband has insisted Britain is “united” behind the military campaign in Afghanistan on his first visit to the country.
Addressing troops in volatile Helmand province, Mr Miliband backed the coalition’s timetable for combat operations to end by 2015.
“I want you to know that our mission in Afghanistan is not a matter of party politics,” he said.
“It is about doing what is right for our country. A more stable Afghanistan will lead to a more safe Britain…
“Above all I want you to know that you have our support, our respect and our admiration for what you are doing for our country.”
But he added: “It is right that this is not a war without end.”
Mr Miliband toured the force’s main base at Camp Bastion on Friday, meeting injured soldiers at the hospital.
Accompanied by shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, he then travelled to Shawqat, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting recently.
The party has met the American commander of the Nato force, General David Petraeus, and is due to hold talks with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul later.
The visit was subject to a media blackout until now due to security concerns.