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Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has warned that the Taliban is still a "potent force" in Afghanistan that should not be underestimated.
He said some 15-20 patrol bases had already been handed over to the Afghan National Army, which is becoming more self-sufficient all the time.
But he also said he is optimistic that momentum is building for a process of negotiation between the Afghan government and Taliban.
ITV News' International Correspondent John Irvine spoke to him in Helmand Province:
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said he is "optimistic" that talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government would begin in the coming months:
Britain's war in Afghanistan is winding down and the troops are beginning to make preparations to return home.
On a visit to Camp Bastion, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he expects the armed conflict with the Taliban to start giving way to a process of negotiation in the "coming months"
"There is quite a lot of reaching out with messages to the Taliban," he said. "I think we're all optimistic that we will see the start of some meaningful political dialogue".
ITV News' International Correspondent John Irvine reports from Helmand Province:
Latest ITV News reports
The Defence Secretary has said he predicts talks between the Afghan government and Taliban will begin "in the coming months".