Salaries of Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan will increase starting from January, 2013, the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on December 26.
Pay raise will range from 9% to 40% depending of military rank.
A monthly salary for a private will increase 40% from current USD 715 to USD 1,001; corporals’ monthly salaries will increase from USD 780 to USD 1,040; junior sergeants’ salaries will go up from current USD 845 to USD 1,079; sergeants – from current USD 910 to USD 1,118; senior sergeants – from USD 975 to USD 1,157. Higher ranking militaries serving in Afghanistan will also get pay raise in range of 9%-12%, the MoD said.
“This is the first time when Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan will receive salary increase,” Vako Avaliani, an aide to minister of defense, said on December 26.
He said that while MoD had spent GEL 41 million on bonuses for its staff and army staff in a period between 2009 and September 2012, Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan received bonuses only once in 2011 in an amount of about GEL 365 each.
Georgia has almost doubled its contribution to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan in October to over 1,560 soldiers, becoming the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF operation.
Georgia has lost total of eighteen soldiers in Afghanistan since joining ISAF mission in November, 2009, seven of them this year.
Ministry of Defense said last week that a Georgian soldier was missing in Afghanistan since December 19.
Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, who visited Georgian troops in the Helmand province last month, told journalists in Tbilisi on December 25 that “there is a high probability that missing soldier is alive.”
He also said that deputy chief of staff of the Georgian armed forces, Vakhtang Kapanadze, was now in Afghanistan, involved in ongoing “search and rescue operation”.
President’s administration announced on December 25 about President Saakashvili’s plans to travel to Afghanistan and spend New Year’s Eve with Georgian troops in the Helmand province.
Asked during the press conference on December 26 whether it was appropriate for the President to make announcement about such visit in advance, Georgian Defense Minister’s advisor, Vako Avaliani, responded that the usual practice was not to make such announcement before the visit because of security reasons.