Defense Minister Irakli Alasania visited Georgian troops at the Camp Phoenix in Kabul and met outgoing commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford.
Addressing Georgian troops at the Camp Phoenix on August 7, Alasania thanked them for their “great service” and also paid tribute to Georgian soldiers fallen in the August, 2008 war with Russia.
“Six years ago aggressor attacked our country and tried to force us to get on our knees. Georgia has been fighting for its freedom and independence for centuries; often our territories were temporarily lost, but the main thing that aggressor has always been failing to deprive us is firm combat spirit that you carry,” Alasania said.
“We lost 169 soldiers six years ago, but they failed to deprive us of our sense of dignity,” Alasania said. “Georgian soldier serves with pride and dignity wherever the Georgian five-cross flag flies and I want to thank you for that. Our country will never kneel down and I am sure that we will be able together with you to fully protect our country’s security, as well as restoration of the territorial integrity.”
After meeting with General Dunford, Alasania said that post-election situation in Afghanistan and Georgia’s contribution to post-2014 mission were discussed.
The Defense Minister told Georgian lawmakers in late July that Georgia would keep about 750 troops for NATO's post-2014 non-combat mission in Afghanistan. He said that a company size unit would be deployed in northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif under the German command and rest of the troops would be stationed under the U.S. command in Bagram.
Georgia currently has 755 soldiers in ISAF mission, down from its pick when Georgia had about 1,600 troops in Afghanistan.
About fifty Georgian troops continue to serve in Kabul and a special mountain battalion is deployed in Kandahar.
In July Georgian troops ended their four-year deployment in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.
Death toll of the Georgian soldiers in the ISAF mission is 29 – all killed in action in the Helmand province.
435 Georgian soldiers have been wounded in action, 35 of whom are amputees, according to the ISAF.