Is Georgia's military withdrawal from Afghanistan near?
By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 5Recently various Georgian media outlets have reported that the Georgian military contingent deployed in Afghanistan through the ISAF mission will withdrawa from it. However, no official information has been confirmed as of yet. Georgia participated in the peacekeeping missions in Iraq and then in Afghanistan to confirm its commitment in its quest for NATO membership.
According to official data, there are 925 Georgian troops serving in Afghanistan currently. Since the beginning of the operation, Georgia has lost 8 soldiers, and several more have been wounded. While many NATO member countries have since pulled out their soldiers, the Georgian president promised to double Georgia's troop contingent there.
The Georgian presence in Afghanistan has both supporters and opponents. Most of the politicians and analysts in Georgia have supported the idea of Georgia’s participation in the peacekeeping mission. However, the scale of Georgia's troop commitment has been a matter of discussion. Analysts suggest that Georgia could not make any decision concerning the withdrawal of its troops unilaterally. It has to negotiate the move with NATO and the USA. If Georgia is indeed really withdrawing its troops, there should be an adequate substitution ready. Georgia ended its participation in the Iraq peacekeeping mission in a state of emergency, because while Georgia's elite troops were serving abroad they were rushed back to Georgia to protect the country during Russian aggression in 2008. Some analysts suggest that if Georgian troops withdraw from Afghanistan it could be a sign that the country’s security is under threat. There is also the opinion that this threat might not be coming from the expected source (Russia). Some suggest that this could be related to the crisis in Syria, but more realistically, it could be the tense situation in the northern Caucasus. There is also the increased threat of terrorism in the country, as illustrated by the recent operation and killing of the militants in Kakheti. Some analysts consider the current moves of the Georgian military as a regular and planned rotation of the military units. However, in this case, Georgian officials could have provided comments. Nothing is clear however. If Georgia withdraws from Afghanistan it will be known pretty quickly.