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Georgian peacekeepers safe after attack in Afghanistan

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, April 24
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Georgia reports that no Georgian soldiers have been injured as a result of an attack on the Mazar-e Sharif military base in Afghanistan on April 21.

“An attack on an Afghan subdivision was carried out 20 kilometers away from the base where Georgian soldiers serve. Georgian soldiers continue to operate in a usual way and feel safe,” the ministry stated.

15 Taliban insurgents attacked a northern army base near Mazar-e Sharif on Friday.

The assault began as soldiers were observing Friday prayers at Camp Shaheen near Mazar-e Sharif, one of the nation's most populated and developed cities, the Afghan military said.

The city is in the Balkh province and the base is the headquarters of the 209th Shaheen Corps.

The Taliban said in a statement they had carried out the attack, using suicide bombers to breach defenses.

The Taliban fighters who attacked the base wore army uniforms and drove through checkpoints to launch the raid, a military spokesman said.

The BBC reports that earlier estimates put the death toll as high as 134, and a statement from the defense ministry on Saturday gave the figure of more than 100 killed or injured.

However, CNN says that according to their sources, more than 140 people have died.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has declared Sunday to be a national day of mourning in remembrance of the Afghan forces killed on the base.

CNN reports that from January 1 through November 12 last year, 6,785 Afghan national security forces were killed, according to the latest quarterly report of the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

As for Georgian peacekeepers, 31 Georgian soldiers lost their lives while involved in a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan since 2010.

NATO's website stated that Georgia committed about 885 troops to the Resolute Support mission, which means that Georgia remains the largest non-NATO contributor to Afghanistan.