Georgia is part of NATO-led mission in Afghanistan to gain combat experience and to become further integrated with its western allies, President Saakashvili said on September 13.
Speaking at a newly re-established school of cadets in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city in Imereti region, Saakashvili said, that “the fact that there are so many problems in Afghanistan, is very bad for Georgia,” because it distracts international attention from those issues, which were source of concern for Georgia.
NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, he said, “is our straggle” too.
“Of course someone may say: ‘we have so many problems, our territories are occupied and there is no time now for going somewhere else to fight’. But because of these very same problems that we have, we need a huge combat experience my friends and that’s [Afghan mission] is unique combat and war school. Georgia is not in a situation of Norway, Denmark, or Australia. Take a look at our situation, our challenges and threats – can we say no to our armed forces and can we say no to a war school? This is an opportunity to become integrated to the world’s best armies, to see the most advanced [military] equipment and achievements,” Saakashvili said.
“I am grateful to our soldiers and their families, who have not complained even once, who participate in [the Afghan operation] with full awareness of their mission,” he added.
Company commander from the 31st infantry battalion, first lieutenant Mukhran Shukvani, 28, who was killed while on mission in the province of Helmand more than week ago, became Georgia’s first casualty since the country joined the coalition forces in Afghanistan in November, 2009.