In his video address on June 7, expressing condolences over death of seven Georgian soldiers in truck bomb attack in southern Afghan province of Helmand on Thursday, PM Ivanishvili said that Georgia “will continue fight for peace in the world.”
“Our country has made a huge sacrifice for the struggle for international security and the entire world knows it,” PM Ivanishvili said. “Our brothers and sons sacrificed their lives for struggle for peace and fight against terrorism.”
“Fight against terrorism is difficult, but at the same time very honorable mission,” he said. “Far from Georgia, on foreign land, our troops are defending our homeland at the cost of their lives. These guys stand guard for stability of our country and for the security of our future generations.”
“Despite of this horrible tragedy, nothing will break us; no one will make us retreat,” he said. “We will continue fight for peace in the world, peace in Georgia.”
Expressing condolences over death of the Georgian soldiers, President Saakashvili said in his live televised address on June 6 that Georgia “made yet another sacrifice on its difficult path to freedom, independence and joining the family of world's civilized nations."
Saakashvili, who declared June 7 national day of mourning, also said: “It is our obligation before the memory of our fallen soldiers not to give up, not to step back and to continue moving towards the Euro-Atlantic space, to continue daily struggle for Georgia's independence.”
The June 6 bombing – the deadliest attack on Georgian troops in Afghanistan – is likely to give rise to debates about Georgia’s contribution to the ISAF.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the June 6 attack, which it said took place in the Now Zad district of Helmand province.
Hours before the announcement was made about the death of seven Georgian troops, Georgian online community was abuzz about YouTube video, titled “Taliban Jihad Against Georgian Troops in Afghanistan”, which emerged earlier on June 6 and in which a man’s voiceover in English threatens Georgian troops and their families and warns of bringing fight into Georgia.
Chief of Georgian president’s administration, Andro Barnovi, said on June 6 that he doubted Taliban was behind this video and blamed those “forces”, which, he said, were trying to undermine Georgia’s pro-western foreign policy course.
“We believe that source of this video… is much closer to Georgia than it is Afghanistan,” he said. “I want to call on the society to keep calm and on the law enforcement agencies to find out source where this video originates from.”
Interior Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, said in a statement on June 7 that probe was underway to find out source of the video. “Our foreign partners are actively helping us. I cannot provide other details at this stage,” he said, adding that there was no reason for panic.
Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, suggested on June 7 that there was no need to make much hype out of this video; he said did not believe emergence of the video was “directly related” to the deadly attack on the Georgian troops in Afghanistan. Reports say that the security services have already launched probe into the video to find out its source.
Georgia currently has 1,561 soldiers in Afghanistan, making the country the largest non-NATO troop contributor to ISAF mission and the seventh largest contributor after the U.S.; UK; Germany; Italy; Poland and Romania, which has 1,595.