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Guard of Honour for Kazakh Defence Minister

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK Defence Minister Philip Hammond this morning welcomed his counterpart from Kazakhstan, His Excellency Mr Adilbek Dzhaksybekov.

Following an inspection of troops from the Household Division Foot Guards, Minister Dzhaksybekov spoke with Mr Hammond and senior UK military figures about security policy in Central Asia, plans for transferring full security authority to the Afghans, and the transit of military equipment through the Kazakh territory.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

We have a shared interest in the stability of Afghanistan and the region. We want to work together to ensure a stable future for Afghanistan and its neighbours.

The international effort to bring about a more stable and secure Afghanistan is vital to our national security. It is right that we continue to engage with all those in the region.

Kazakhstan is a key Central Asian country with an important role to play in under-pinning the long-term stability of Afghanistan.

We are co-operating on improving UK supply lines into and out of Afghanistan through the Northern Line of Communication as we draw down our force levels.

Kazakhstan and its neighbours are important links in that complex logistical operation.

Central Asia remains a strategically important region for the UK, and one where the UK is intensifying engagement.

It is important for a range of reasons, including energy security and commercial opportunities; its role on Afghanistan; and a wish to promote governance and human rights.

For the last 10 years British soldiers have taken part in military exercises in Kazakhstan.

In August this year 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards took part in Exercise Steppe Eagle which was designed to enhance the soldiering and peacekeeping skills of the Kazakh Army.