Georgia: now the top non-NATO troop contributor in Afghanistan
Georgia has been assisting the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2004. Following a substantial increase of its deployment in October last year, Georgia currently has over 1,500 troops deployed there, making it the largest non-NATO contributor to ISAF and the fifth largest contributor overall.
© US DoD
“We greatly appreciate the active support that Georgia has made to our operations – past and present,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the NATO-Georgia Commission meeting of defence ministers on 5 June. “We greatly value the professionalism and the courage of Georgian troops. And we honour their sacrifice.”
Georgia is currently providing two infantry battalions serving with US forces in Helmand Province, an infantry platoon serving with the US contingent in Kabul, medical personnel to assist ISAF within the Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction Team, and a number of staff officers serving at various locations.
© US DoD
A difficult mission in Helmand
In the volatile district of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, Georgian soldiers partner with Afghan National Security Forces to conduct patrols, clear roadside bombs and engage with locals.
By helping clear and secure one of Helmand's lifeline routes, Georgian troops have enabled freedom of movement and the beginnings of local government to come to the area.
Committed to the post-2014 mission
Georgia indicated its willingness to continue to support the development of the Afghan security forces, after the completion of ISAF’s mission at the end of 2014, when responsibility for security will have been fully transferred to the Afghan authorities and security forces.
Known as “Resolute Support”, the post-2014 mission will not be a combat mission. It will be significantly smaller and its aim will be to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces.
The Georgian government has also pledged financial support for the future development of the Afghan National Security Forces.