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Georgian troops leave for Afghanistan

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, March 25
A new wave of Georgian soldiers left for Afghanistan in order to contribute to international peace.

For seven months they will be serving in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute Support mission (RSM) in Afghanistan, which was launched on 1 January 2015 to provide further training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces and institutions.

The farewell ceremony was held at the Vaziani military base on March 24. Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli addressed the departing soldiers and wished them a successful mission and safe return to Georgia.

“These soldiers are our face and fame so they should feel the support from our society. This mission is not the first for us; Georgia has been contributing to the international security for 15 years,” said Khidasheli.

The Minister also mentioned the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels and noted that Georgia’s participation in international security is compulsory, in order to avoid such acts in Tbilisi or other cities of the world.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili also attended the farewell ceremony. The Supreme Commander addressed the soldiers and wished them successful and safe participation in the mission.

“Today, when the world is full of terrible terrorist acts, your job is very important. You are leaving to serve your country and to protect peace in the world,” the president stated.

The United States (US) Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly also addressed the departing soldiers. According to him, the Armed Forces of the United States and Georgia have developed very close and friendly relations, which are based on common principles.

Kelly noted that the professionalism and contribution of Georgian servicemen will be appreciated.

“You are fighters and peace ambassadors as well. I hope your term in mission will pass quickly and you all will return home safe,” said Ian Kelly.

Currently, 14 partner countries are contributing to Resolute Support; among these, Georgia is the second largest contributor after the USA.