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Page last updated at 08:12 GMT, Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:12 UK

UK-Afghan relations 'extremely good'

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The defence secretary has told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that the relationships between British troops and the Afghan National Army are "generally extremely good".

Philip Hammond was responding to a question about whether there was a question over the security of the Afghan National Army after two British soldiers were shot by an Afghan army soldier.

Mr Hammond is in Afghanistan and is due to sign an agreement in Afghanistan today to set up a British run military academy there that has been called "Sandhurst in the Sand".

Despite one in seven of the foreign troops killed in the country so far this year being down to Afghan soldiers turning their arms on men who thought they were comrades, Mr Hammond said that after talking to troops on the ground daily, they regard the risk as "perfectly manageable" which is "worth taking".

"By the end of 2014 we will be out of the combat role but our support for the Afghans will not end," he said, adding that the British military will provide financial support as well as training and mentoring.

He said there will be hundreds, rather than thousands, of soldiers remaining in Helmand but the government is keeping its options open.


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