UK defense secretary visits Afghanistan

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Associated Press

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 7 at 1:33 PM

LONDON (AP) — British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond has made an unannounced visit to southern Afghanistan to visit U.K. troops.

The Ministry of Defense said Hammond was returning home on Thursday after stops in Kabul and in Helmand province to visit British personnel. No further details were immediately available.

Hammond's visit comes after British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's President Asif Zardari for trilateral talks on Afghanistan's floundering peace and reconciliation process.

Attempts at peace have faltered even as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country in 2014.

British troops form the second-largest NATO contingent fighting to stop the Taliban insurgency ahead of the planned withdrawal date.

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