Georgia to shut two bases in Afghanistan

Georgian honor guards carry the coffins of Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan during a ceremony at an airport near the capital Tbilisi on June 9, 2013.

Georgiaâ„¢s Defense Minister Irakli Alasania says his country has decided to shut down two of its military bases in Afghanistan.

The decision has been announced on Wednesday after 10 Georgian soldiers were killed in militant attacks within the last four weeks.

Alasania, however, said that Tbilisi has no plan to reduce the number of 1,545 Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan.

“It’s a contribution made by Georgia to the international mission that is fighting terrorism and ensuring global security,” he said.

Last week, Alasania cut short his official visit to Brussels and landed in Afghanistan after seven Georgian soldiers serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in the country.

The troops were killed on June 6 when Taliban militants drove an explosives-laden truck into the Georgian military base in the Nawzad district of Helmand province and detonated it.

According to a Georgian Defense Ministry statement, Alasania held a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and visited troops injured in the incident.

On May 13, three Georgian soldiers were killed in a similar attack in the Musa Qala district of the province.

Twenty-seven Georgian troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2004, when they joined the US-led forces in the country.

Attacks on foreign troops are expected to rise in the next months, as Taliban militants have announced the beginning of their “spring offensive” across Afghanistan.

The militant group said it would use “every possible tactic” to inflict casualties on Afghan and US-led forces, specifically mentioning insider and bomb attacks.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washingtonâ„¢s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but the country is still gripped by insecurity.

As many as 3,334 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led war began in October 2001.

The increasing number of military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.


This article originally appeared on: Press TV