President Saakashvili has “instructed” Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili to “immediately” identify those who have “produced and commissioned” a video, which threatens to take jihad into Georgia.
In a televised address on June 8 Saakashvili ruled out that Taliban was behind the video and said that there was “a high probability” the video was in fact produced in Georgia.
Hours before the announcement was made by the Ministry of Defense late on June 6 about the death of seven Georgian troops in a truck bomb attack in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, a YouTube video, titled “Taliban Jihad Against Georgian Troops in Afghanistan”, emerged in which a man’s voiceover in English threatens Georgian troops and their families and warns of bringing fight into Georgia; President Saakashvili is also mentioned in the video.
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.
Anti-terrorism center at the Interior Ministry is investigating the case.
Chief prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, told public TV on June 7 that “we expect to receive information” from Google involving personal data of a user account from which the video was uploaded on YouTube.
But Saakashvili suggested that the Interior Ministry was delaying the probe.
“It is very easy to locate from where the video was uploaded; our police could have done it easily even yesterday,” he said.
“I want to not only request, but to demand and instruct the Interior Minister to immediately identify those who have produced this video and those who have commissioned it, no matter who they are – this is not a difficult task, this is technically very easy and it is about political will,” Saakashvili said.
“I personally will follow this case up to the end and I will not let anyone to paper it over under the pretext that investigation requires much time; it is very easy to investigate it and we all know it very well,” he added.
Saakashvili said that this video, which contained threat against Georgian soldiers, civilians and the political leadership, was “extremely alarming” especially against the background of the June 6 deadly attack on the Georgian troops in Afghanistan.
“Of course I know very well that there are many people who probably do not like me like me; that’s natural when you are in government for many years… Of course there are many political parties, who disagree with each other… But there is a line beyond which this disagreement should not go. Georgia has a tradition of revelry and internal strife,” he said, adding that Georgia “also has a huge tradition” of yielding to “foreign interests” at the expense of those of the Georgian statehood.
“But there are some things that should be untouchable,” he continued. “One of such issues is our armed forces and the security and existence of our country.”
“There is a high probability, that these videos are produced neither in Afghanistan nor by Taliban and this is confirmed by the experts, including from the NATO structures,” Saakashvili said. “There is a high probability that these videos have been commissioned and produced in Georgia, by the Georgians for concrete political purposes, which are beyond my understanding.”
Later on June 8, President Saakashvili offered holding of the National Security Council session next week to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, a small group of people gathered on June 8 outside the former parliamentary building on Rustaveli Avenue in downtown Tbilisi to protest against Georgia’s contribution to ISAF mission. Some were calling for an immediate withdrawal of Georgian troops and others for cutting down number of troops deployed in Afghanistan.