Georgian Soldiers in Afghanistan to Get Pay Rise
17 January, 2013
Georgian Soldiers in  Afghanistan to Get Pay Rise
In the turn of 2013, Georgian troops participating in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan stand to receive a New Year gift in the form of a lofty rise in wages for their service in the dodgiest place of the world. Whatever others may say, patriotism has its share in the driving of Georgian armed forces to spend months in Afghanistan. No less important for them is a salary and this is natural because every day they encounter lethal dangers in
Afghanistan.
Unbelievably, in the last three years since the arrival of the first ISAF-led Georgian soldiers on to the Afghan soil, no one has ever cared to boost their salaries. Only once – in 2011 – have they been awarded a bonus of 365 Lari each. Compare it with 41 million 164 thousand Lari as an aggregated financial heads-up for a number of high-ranking officials in Defense Ministry and United HQ. This is what they say in the Ministry.
By the decision of the new ministry leadership, the salary of a private - the lowest military grade in the Georgian troops of active duty in Afghanistan ISAF operation will get a 40% boost from 2013 – from 715 to 1001 US Dollars. Similarly, the salary of a corporal will rise by 33% - from 780 to 1040 US Dollars, that of a junior NCO – from 845 to 1079 US Dollars, an NCO – from 910 to 1118 USD, a senior NCO – from 975 to 1157 USD, a master NCO – from 1105 to 1235 USD, chief NCO – from 1170 to 1300 USD. Officers are no exception as lieutenant salary will grow from 1274 to 1391 USD, senior lieutenant – from 1300 to 1417 USD, captain – from 1430 to 1547, major – from 1690 to 1781, vice-colonel – from 1950 to 2041 and colonel – from 2210 to 2301.
The militaries in Afghanistan will get their field mission reimbursement free of tax. In addition, their original base salaries in Lari paid to them in Georgia would not be touched. The minimum size of a corporal salary is 700-800 Lari (depending on the unit type). Throughout the 6-7 months long field mission to Afghanistan, this money will be cut month-wise due to food cost deductions, nothing else.
Defense Ministry has done yet another good job by making this information about the rise of troop salaries public because at last the public learns about what our guys get for their participation in Afghan counter guerilla war. This goes in stark contrast to the previous Ministry leadership, which would classify everything outright, including everything about military salaries as if it were the top State secret. Despite similar daily risks to their lives, corporals, NCOs and senior military officers of other countries involved in ISAF get much higher pays than their Georgian peers do.
Such openness of Georgian Defense Ministry killed one more myth that circulated in the population. It held that salaries of Georgian militaries were covered by Americans. Certainly the American side does assist us in the training and transfer of Georgian units to and from the ISAF operation sites in Afghanistan (also, with food) during routine rotations. In reality, it is Georgia which pays for their salaries, armament and equipment of 1600 Georgian ISAF troops. These costs add up to $2 million. On top of them, another $1 million is spent on work visits to Afghanistan. Thus, our State budget has to allocate $3 mln or nearly 5 mln GEL every month for the operation of Georgian contingent in Afghanistan, i.e. 60 mln GEL per year.
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