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New mission in Afghanistan

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 26
Georgia’s troop presence in Afghanistan continues. Georgia’s armed forces will carry on with their contribution to international security. Both the parliamentary majority and minority are unanimous regarding the issue. However, certain representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition openly disapprove of Georgian soldiers being used for peacekeeping mission.

Georgia’s parliament ratified a document confirming the country’s participation in the mission on December 24.

The document, which foresees Georgia’s involvement in the new NATO mission in Afghanistan was signed on December 15, after which Georgia sent two units to the country including one battalion bring the total number of soldiers involved to 750.

The Fourth Mechanized Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces has already arrived in Afghanistan.

750 Georgian soldiers serve in the ISAF mission, a mission that will conclude at the end of the year. The total number of Georgians participating in the mission is now 1,600.

29 Georgian soldiers were killed during the mission.

Georgia’s participation in the mission has frequently caused heated discussions. Those opposing Georgia’s presence in Afghanistan stress that sending soldiers to the mission is unacceptable when Georgia has its own security issues at home with Russia.

Observers point out that the West did little to protect Georgia during the 2008 Russian-Georgian War. However, the West showed much more resolve when Ukraine was in trouble.

In his interview with The American Interest Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves stated that the West has allowed aggression to stand in Georgia, having done nothing, and instead going off about some “peace, love, Woodstock” idea.

“By invading Georgia, Russia violated numerous international agreements in 2008,” the president said.

He stressed that Europe responded to the Russian invasion inadequately and continued normal cooperation with Russia several months later, despite the occupation of Georgia’s territories.

According to the Estonian President, in 2009, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev publicly stated that they invaded Georgia in order to stop it from becoming a NATO member.

“Russia did the same in Ukraine when Kyiv set out to sign the Association Agreement with the EU,” Ilves added.

Russia has already signed a treaty on Alliance and Partnership with Abkhazia. This treaty is widely looked at as a Russian attempt to annex the region.

Russia now plans to sign the same type of agreement with the Tskhinvali region in January 2015. Some analysts believe that in the near future, Russia will launch another step towards strengthening its position in the Caucasus. The question remains however: who is next? And who will protect Georgia if it is attacked again?