Turkey, which has up to 1,845 troops in ISAF operation, expressed its condolences for death of three Georgian soldiers as a result of roadside bomb attack in the Helmand province of Afghanistan on February 21.
“As we condemn this terrorist act, we offer our condolences to the people and government of Georgia – our friend and neighbor,” the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on its website on February 23.
This recent incident put total death toll of Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan to fifteen and it was also the largest casualty toll for Georgian troops in Afghanistan in any single incident since October, 2010 when mine blast killed four Georgian servicemen.
According to ISAF the three servicemen “died following an improvised explosive device attack” on February 21.
On February 23 U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta called Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia to express his condolences, the Department of Defense said.
“The secretary thanked his Georgian counterpart for his country’s continued support to the International Security Assistance Force mission… Panetta also praised the exceptional performance of Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan,” according to DoD.
Panetta’s phone call to his Georgian counterpart came as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Celeste Wallander, was visiting Georgia.
Georgia plans to send one more additional battalion to Afghanistan this year boosting its ISAF contribution up to 1,685 troops.