More than 1,500 military personnel will lose their jobs in the final round of armed forces redundancies, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed.
Redundancies will include up to 1,425 members of the Army, up to 70 medical and dental officers from the RAF and up to 10 from the Royal Navy, Hammond told MPs in a Commons statement.
The fourth tranche of redundancies is part of an armed forces re-structuring programme which will see the regular Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.
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:
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond has defended the UK's mission to rescue two hostages in Nigeria that ultimately led to their deaths, saying "any hostage situation is fraught with risk."