Georgian, Afghan Defence Ministers meet in Kabul

Afghanistan’s Defence Minister thanked Georgian counterpart for Georgia’s contribution to ISAF operation. Photo by, 11 Aug 2014 - 11:22, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has expressed its readiness to continue working in Afghanistan once the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ends later this year.

Georgia’s Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania and his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aimed to strengthen cooperation between the Defence Ministries of the two countries.

"[We] officially laid foundations to our bilateral military cooperation. In Kandahar I saw how our military servicemen are providing assistance to the Afghan artillerists. They handed over certificates to their trainees. Our cooperation will continue and it will become more intensive and overarching,” Alasania said after meeting Mohammadi in Kabul.

"Georgia will share its experience with the Afghan Government in regards to reforms in defensive spheres. Afghanistan needs our assistance and the Georgian Government is ready to support the Afghan Government,” Alasania added.

Afghanistan’s Defence Minister thanked Alasania for Georgia’s contribution to ISAF operation.

"Afghanistan has been always appreciative of the Georgian sacrifice to establish peace in Afghanistan. Georgia’s Government remains committed to help Afghanistan beyond 2014. This memorandum is the initial steps for launching work on the technical and other issues,” Mohammadi said.

Earlier Georgia pledged to contribute hundreds of troops to NATO’s post-2014 mission in Afghanistan after the ISAF mission officially ends at the end of the year.

In July Alasania announced 750 Georgian soldiers will be deployed in two Afghan cities and contribute to the non-combat mission.

A company-size unit and a Battalion will be deployed in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan and will serve under German command, while the remaining troops will be stationed under US command in the ancient city of Bagram, where the largest US military contingent is currently deployed.

Meanwhile last week Alasania visited Georgia’s 755 troops at Camp Phoenix in Kabul and met top mission leaders and discussed Georgia’s contribution to the ISAF mission. And last month Georgian troops ended their four-year deployment in Afghanistan’s southern province of Helmand.

To date 29 Georgian soldiers have been killed in the ISAF mission – all in the Helmand province. In addition, 435 Georgian soldiers have been wounded in action; 35 of who were amputees, said ISAF.