London, Sept.1 : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown narrowly escaped by killed by the Taliban during a short visit to Afghanistan last week, the News of the World can reveal.
Taliban fanatics were in position . . . and ready to shoot down his helicopter as he flew over Kabul.
But the assassination bid was foiled with just minutes to spare when the two gunmen were spotted on a rooftop directly beneath the chopper's flight path.
Brown was about to board the Chinook military helicopter at the British Embassy in Kabul after talks with officials at the end of his one-day trip.
The PM, his closest aides, and a police and army protection team were just about to walk up the rear ramp of the Chinook when the alarm was sounded.
A security source said: "The Prime Minister was told two hostiles had been spotted with guns on a nearby roof. He was rushed back to the compound and local forces dealt with the situation."
But as Afghan police rushed to the rooftop scene the two gunmen are understood to have realized they had been spotted-and escaped.
The PM spent another 45 minutes sheltering inside the embassy in the Kabul "Green Zone" until a massive security operation swung into action for the 10-minute flight to the city's international airport. American Black Hawk helicopters were brought in to provide extra protection during the flight from the centre of Kabul-from where he went on to Beijing for Sunday's Olympic Games closing ceremony.
Brown was in Afghanistan for just a few hours and first addressed British troops at their Camp Bastion base in Helmand province. He then flew in a Hercules transport plane to Kabul for talks with Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
A Number 10 source said: "We never comment on security matters. But the PM always takes the advice of the security forces."