LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, (Reuters/AFP) - Britains defence and interior ministers visited Afghanistan on Saturday to boost the morale of British troops who suffered 50 dead in the past three months. Making a previously unannounced trip to the turbulent Helmand Province, where a 9,000-strong British contingent is based, the ministers also talked about the necessity of bolstering the Afghan armys capabilities as a fighting force. Britains goal is to accelerate, as fast as we can, Afghan capability, Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth, who visited the province along with interior minister Alan Johnson, said. Security is obviously the most important thing, and therefore we need to grow the Afghan National Army, he added. British officials initially asked the news media not to report on the visit until Monday for security reasons, but Afghan television showed pictures of the ministers on Saturday. It has been tremendous ... to not just commend our troops, for me to have the opportunity to do that, but also to hear from the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police, Johnson told reporters after meeting provincial governor Ghulab Mangal and other officials. Meanwhile, extra troops called for by the head of foreign forces in Afghanistan would be sent mainly to the north and west of the country, the US military said on Saturday. US General Stanley McChrystal, who commands 100,000 US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, has reportedly asked for up to 40,000 extra troops and warned that without reinforcements in the next 12 months, the mission could end in failure. McChrystal has called the situation serious but is still not certain of getting reinforcements, with the issue politically explosive in the United States and as public opinion turns against the Afghan mission. Security in Afghanistan has worsened in the last two years, with US and coalition casualties reaching record numbers in recent months. A total of 384 foreign troops have died so far in 2009, 226 of them American, the most since the ouster of Afghanistans former hardline leaders the Taliban eight years ago, according to the independent icasualties.org website.