Georgia plans to double its troops in Afghanistan
TBILISI - Agence France-PresseGeorgia said yesterday it had doubled the number of troops deployed to fight with NATO-led forces in Afghanistan to over 1,500 as the country’s new government continues its bid to join the alliance.
Georgia now has 1,570 troops serving there, making the small Caucasus country the largest non-NATO contributor to the Afghanistan mission. “Currently two battalions of the Georgian armed forces, 1,570 servicemen, are deployed in Afghanistan,” Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said. “Our participation in the (NATO-led) mission proves that Georgia is an important provider of international security,” he added. After Mikheil Saakashvili’s government was ousted last month, new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said he would maintain Georgia’s bid to join NATO, although he has also vowed to repair relations with arch foe Moscow. Tbilisi’s NATO aspirations have infuriated Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in 2008.