Georgian military presence in Afghanistan drops, mission changes

From January 1st, 2015 Georgian soldiers will no longer take part in combat operations in Afghanistan., 08 Jun 2014 - 17:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

The mission of Georgian Armed Forces in Afghanistan is changing.

From the beginning of next year, the number of Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan will drop and those who remained will no longer take part in combat operations but embark on a new mission to train Afghan security forces.

At a meeting today led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the Georgian Government’s State Council on Security and Crisis Management discussed changes to Georgian Armed Forces' presence in Afghanistan and their role abroad. 

One of the changes was to reduce the amount of Georgian Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan. More specifically, it was decided the Georgian presence would be reduced by half from January 1, 2015.

After the meeting, head of the Council Mindia Janelidze said before the number of Georgian military serving in Afghanistan could be halved, appropriate procedures would have to be obeyed under Georgian law.

"Georgia’s President will be undoubtedly involved in these issues and the Security Council and Parliament as well. However, there is a plan to halve the contingent from the beginning of the next year to 700 soldiers,” Janelidze said.

Defence Minister Irakli Alasania said the remaining soldiers’ contingent would no longer take part in combat operations but embark on a new mission to train Afghan security forces.

"We will continue our mission with about 750 soldiers who will train the Afghan peacekeepers with the new format beginning from January 1,” Alasania said.

He said this was a consistent policy which was previously discussed with NATO and American experts.

At the meeting, Council members also discussed current political and security issues and other topics.

The meeting was attended by Alasania, Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze, Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Parliament Chairman David Usupashvili, head of the Intelligence Service David Sujashvili and Members of Parliament David Berdzenishvili and Tinatin Khidasheli.