Taliban: Georgian Troops in Bull’s Eye
16 May, 2013
On 13 May, Georgian troops stationed in Afghanistan found themselves in the thick of it as they sustained a surprise combined attack on their Chirgaz military base in Helmand province. A suicide Talib bomber in a lorry loaded with explosives rammed into the gates of the base and was followed by the firearm attack by five Talibs. In response, all the assailants were eliminated. Unfortunately though, three Georgian soldiers too lost their lives. Some more sustained a various degree of wounds.
As a result, the total number of casualties among the Georgian troops involved in the ISAF mission since 2009 has reached 22. Whatever our best wishes, we cannot prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. There are two main reasons. First, as the ISAF mission is getting to its end, Talibs are bound to prop up attacks. Second, just the sheer size of the Georgian troops - 1600 – already leaves no room for absolute security and exacerbates vulnerability. The 13 May attack revealed unequivocal truth that Georgia with its largest contingent among non-NATO states participating in ISAF is now officially seen as a full-fledged enemy by Taliban, on par with Americans and Brits.
This ugly turn finds its roots in the incessant gasconade of the previous regime led by Saakashvili. Anywhere they went they always rushed to make a big point out of the Georgia’s largest non-NATO contribution to ISAF operations in Afghanistan. In their vain belief, in doing so they were nothing but ushering Georgia into the realms of North Atlantic Alliance. Despite the fifth year of Georgia’s participation in ISAF operations and multiple thanks from the state leaders of America and European countries and prominent political figures, the question of Georgia’s accession to NATO has been ever so in the stalemate, adding oil to the growing nihilism in the better part of Georgia’s population about North Atlantic integration prospects. If NATO shuns us anyway then why let Georgian troops get killed in Afghanistan? Actuality of the question grows in momentum. Paradoxically, NATO representatives have never ever pledged that more Georgian troops in ISAF operations would automatically speed up Georgia’s accession to NATO. Rather, it is the Saakashvili’s defunct regime which had been groundlessly pledging it to the entire Georgian population.