Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan
30 June, 2011
Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan

9 killed and dozens wounded?

“In the operation which took life of Gia Goguadze, several more Georgian soldiers sustained wounds. Three of them had to go through the feet amputation ordeal. Another two were flown to Germany and one of them remains in the critical condition,” – these disturbing information is spread by Irakli Sesiashvili, Director of Justice and Freedom Association.

The official web site of the Defense Ministry has nothing about the soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. It was only once –

namely on 22 November, 2010 - when the Ministry had to admit the existence of 12 wounded Georgian militaries because they were visited by Michel Obama, the First Lady of America, at an American hospital located in Germany where these Georgian soldiers were undergoing treatment. These 12 soldiers however were wounded during several military operations. They were lucky unlike their five comrades who were killed. Those operations started April last year, when 750 Georgian militaries arrived at 31st battalion of third infantry brigade stationed in Helmand province of Afghanistan. Since then all the news about wounded soldiers used to be blocked.

After the first tragedy of 2011, the Defense Ministry released an official statement on 22 February which mentioned two wounded corporals in addition to the killed soldiers. Next release on 14 March spoke about one killed and two wounded militaries (captain and corporal). Since then many started to hope that the Ministry changed the tactics and would not cover up facts of Georgian casualties. However, the next releases on 27 May and 20 June that reported about two more killed Georgian soldiers did not say anything whether there were wounded soldiers also. In contrast, there are unofficial reports from Afghanistan that in both cases several Georgian militaries were also wounded, apart from the killed.

According to Irakli Sesiashvili, contrary to American militaries, Georgian soldiers stationed in Helmand province are denied to use Skype. While they are allowed to use the Internet, they can do so only under supervision and for short periods of time. Such restrictive measures seem to be imposed in order to prevent soldiers from informing their relatives in Georgia about what is really happening in Afghanistan.

By 24 June, a total of  9 Georgian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan at various times. These are Mukhran Shukvani, Ramaz Gogiashvili, Davit Tsetskhladze, Nugzar Kalandadze, Giorgi Kolkhitashvili, Giorgi Avaliani, Valeri Verskiani, Lavrosi Ivaniadze and Gia Goguadze. The number of wounded is however a matter of a guess. It may have reached 40 because hand made explosives planted by Taleban normally kill and maim several patrolling soldiers.

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