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Britain seeks accords in central Asia

March 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, March 2 (UPI) -- British defense officials say they're meeting with leaders in central Asia to obtain transit agreements for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey met Friday with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon to discuss the impending withdrawal, which is planned for completion by 2014, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Harvey said they discussed using land in Tajikistan as a staging area to allow the shipment of military supplies in and out of Afghanistan.

He also discussed transit agreements with Kyrgyzstan officials, Kyrgyzstan's defense ministry reported.

"[They] discussed the possible expansion of the northern route for Britain for the purposes of shipping military equipment to and from Afghanistan, primarily through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan," the Kyrgyzstan defense ministry was reported as saying.

Pakistan blocked a key transit route for military supplies in Afghanistan in November, RIA Novosti said.

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