LONDON: British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said military equipment is being removed from Afghanistan, as British troops prepare to withdraw by 2014.
The army is “working hard” on its withdrawal plan, and the pace could quicken if allies, including the US, bring forward their exit plans. An audit is under way of the £4bn worth of sophisticated military hardware and logistical back-up in the country. David Cameron says the UK will stay committed to Afghanistan after 2014.
Five hundred UK troops are due to be withdrawn from Helmand province this year, leaving 9,000. Mr Hammond told the BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that unused equipment was already being “routinely” removed from the country. ‘Robust mechanisms’ “It is a big challenge.
We’ve got £4bn worth of kit in theatre - we’re already on to it, the Army is already working hard on the extraction plan,” he said. Much of the equipment is being removed from the country through Pakistan. Conservative MP Adam Holloway said the withdrawal could only be achieved by paying off local people, and the Taliban would cash in on the process.