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U.K. to Take Afghan Kit Home via Uzbekistan, Pakistan

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said the U.K. government has started planning to repatriate 4 billion pounds ($6 billion) of military equipment from Afghanistan via Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

By the end of this year, the U.K. will reduce the number of military personnel in Afghanistan to 5,200 from 9,000. The armed forces also need to transport home the equivalent of 6,500 20-foot containers of equipment, together with about 2,500 vehicles.

Some of the kit will return to the U.K. via Pakistan, yet with that southern route unable to provide enough capacity, Hammond has agreed with the Uzbek government that it will allow non-dangerous equipment to pass through its territory.

“Uzbekistan has already played a constructive role in helping to secure Afghanistan’s stability but will face increased security challenges” once allied forces have withdrawn, Hammond said in a written statement to Parliament in London today. “We have therefore been examining options for gifting surplus U.K. equipment to help meet those challenges.”

Uzbekistan can expect gifts of surplus Leyland DAF trucks and Land Rover spares, Hammond said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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