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Thirty-three men wish to serve in the Georgian Army from Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 3
The Ministry of Defence of Georgia has completed the registration of recruits in Georgia’s eastern Muslim-populated Pankisi Gorge, from where 33 youngsters revealed their eagerness to serve in Georgia’s Armed Forces (GAF).

Minister of Defence of Georgia Tinatin Khidasheli thanked Colonel Mamuka Kavtaradze who, with his staff, spent a fortnight in the challenging region to brief the young men on all necessary information concerning contract-based and other types of military service.

The Minister stressed her body would continue efforts to increase the Pankisi Gorge people’s engagement in the GAF and the country’s life.

“We extended the registration period specifically for the youth of the Pankisi Gorge in order to give them a chance to serve in the GAF. Now we will start to work with them to collect the appropriate documentation in order to engage them in the military activities as quickly as possible,” Khidasheli said.

“I am sure the Pankisi population have much more information about the GAF currently than they had earlier, and I believe the next call-up will have a better outcome,” Khidasheli added.

All 33 applicants have already passed psychological and physical tests. Since their documentations has been accepted, the Pankisi youth will soon be enrolled in the Zaza Peradze Basic Training Center (BCT) and develop basic military skills over ten weeks. After the BCT, the newly-trained soldiers will be distributed to various units of the GAF.

The initiative of involving more Panikisi youth in military service, from where a number of youngsters left to fight for the Islamic State (IS), came from Khidasheli.

She visited the Gorge in January this year and offered the local youth to join the Georgian Army and make a successful military career.

The Pankisi Gorge is mainly inhabited by Kists, people who came from the North Caucasus Dagestani Republic, currently a part of the Russian Federation.