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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Defence written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Mike Hancock Mike Hancock Liberal Democrat, Portsmouth South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Uzbekistan on the withdrawal of UK military equipment from Afghanistan via rail; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond The Secretary of State for Defence

There has been no ministerial-level engagement with the Uzbek authorities on the subject of the withdrawal of UK military equipment from Afghanistan by rail.

The highest level engagement by Ministry of Defence officials has been by the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Logistic Operations), the two-star military officer responsible for the support of UK forces in Afghanistan and the efficient and cost-effective draw-down of those forces. As part of a wider programme of liaison with countries in central Asia, the present and previous incumbents of that post have visited Uzbekistan three times, in August 2010, March 2011 and November 2011, to conduct discussions with Uzbek officials, including the Defence Minister. These discussions have included the role that Uzbekistan might play in the draw-down of UK forces in Afghanistan but to date no decisions have been taken on the way forward.

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