updated 7/10/2008 1:49:00 PM ET 2008-07-10T17:49:00

Iraq is headed in the right direction in struggling against insurgents, while it will be a longer haul to achieve success in Afghanistan, British Defense Minister Des Browne said Thursday on a visit for talks at the Pentagon and White House.

Affirming Britain's longtime "special ties" with the United States, Browne said over the past six months "we have seen a change for the better" in Iraq.

There, Britain has fought alongside the United States, while many other European countries criticized the U.S.-led campaign and kept their distance. In Afghanistan, there is more European support for the NATO-led campaign.

Browne last month announced a boost of 230 troops in the British contingent to a total of more than 8,000. More than 100 have died since 2001, most of them in fighting with a resurgent Taliban since 2006.

In the long run, speaking at the Brookings Institution, Browne was upbeat about trends in both countries. In the last year, he said, Afghanistan was transformed from a "failing state" to an emerging democracy.

And yet, in contrast to Iraq where violence is subsiding, Browne said there was "far less advance" in Afghanistan. "I have no doubt it will be a longer haul," he said.

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