Former Minister Planned To Send Special Task Force to Afghanistan?!
25 October, 2012
Former Minister Planned To Send Special Task Force to Afghanistan?!

It became known from the sources associated with the armed forces that former Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin was considering further boosting of  ISAF Georgian troops and even negotiated the matter with the American side. He wanted to send one of the special task force units to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

If we believe the results of the central election commission, 1477 Georgian troops have voted in two special voting stations opened for them in the Helmand Province. It means that

Georgia turns out as the number one contributor of troops to ISAF mission in Afghanistan among non-NATO-member states. This fact is the cause of both pride and concern. A large section of Georgian public turns increasingly disconcerted about regular increase of the number of Georgian troops stationed in Afghanistan. If anything, a total of 18 Georgian soldiers lost their lives there by now. The number of wounded is classified by Defense Ministry but it is thought to have reached 100.

The Defense Minister candidate Irakli Alasania already stated that the Georgian contingent in Afghanistan would not be reduced at least till 2014, the year of completion of  ISAF mission. This decision of the new government has immediately caused controversy in the considerable part of the public. Irrespective of our wishes, the sheer size of Georgian troops itself (nearly 1500 militaries) already makes for highly probable tragic incidents. The public meets the transferred remains of every Georgian soldier killed in Afghanistan with great pain, the fact which undoubtedly undermines popularity of  the North Atlantic Alliance in the Georgia.

Georgia participates in international peacekeeping operations since 1999. First, Georgian troops were sent to Kosovo to stay on guard of peace there from 1999 till 2008. Then they were stationed in Iraq from 2003 till August, 2008. Since autumn 2009, Georgian servicemen are taking part in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Initially, Georgia sent there 173 troops. After a repeated number of boosts, the number grew 8.5 times. The 20% of Georgian land being occupied by a foreign country, it’s an immense contribution.

It is understandable that the new Government does not want to give its opponents food for criticism, if Georgia chooses to reduce its contribution. That’s why it feels there is no hurry about this sensitive subject. On the other hand, the NATO leadership and strategic partners in the United States should not feel unhappy at all if Georgia chooses to depart because our country has already did much more to help the alliance in Afghanistan than the country war-torn by the 2008 invasion could have possibly done.

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