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32nd Georgian soldier killed in Afghanistan

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 7
One Georgian soldier was killed and three others injured during a joint patrol on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on August 3.

The deceased, 26-year-old Mdinari Bebiashvili, had been serving in the Georgian Armed Forces since 2010.

Bebiashvili had participated in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan twice, in 2012 and 2014.

He was awarded for his participation in peacekeeping operations.

Captain Mikheil Gvindjishvili was seriously injured while two others – Giga Khakhutashvili and Gega Kharshiladze – had less serious injuries, as reported by Georgia’s Defence Ministry soon after the incident.

Two US soldiers and an Afghan interpreter were also injured during the suicide attack.

The health condition of Captain Gvirjishvili and Lieutenant Khakhutashvili is stable now, the Ministry of Defense announced on August 5.

The Ministry stated the soldiers were immediately operated on at the Bagram aviation base hospital.

“The injured soldiers are now under the supervision of doctors and will be transferred to a medical center in Germany.

“As for the third injured, Corporal Kharshiladze, he was discharged on August 4 after receiving relevant medical assistance at the medical center of Bagram,” Georgia’s Defence Ministry stated.

In honor of the memory of the killed Georgian peacekeeper, the Georgian State flag went down at the Hamid Karzai international base, Bagram base, the Resolute Support mission command headquarters in Kabul and the Mazar-i-Sharif base Marmal.

The decision was jointly made by the Chief of Military Armed Forces of Georgia in Afghanistan and NATO's Afghan Command.

The Ministry of Defence of Georgia expressed deep sorrow over the incident and offered sympathy to the family of the deceased peacekeeper.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also expressed his sadness over Bebiashvili’s death and wished a speedy recovery to the surviving three injured servicemen.

“Our prayers today are with the almost 900 Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan who are mourning their fallen comrade," said U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, known as the Resolute Support Mission, Fox News reports.

"The commitment of Georgia as our largest non-NATO contributor is vital to our mission and we are honored to stand beside them under these difficult circumstances,” he stated.

The US Embassy to Georgia also extended its sympathies to the family of Bebiashvili.

“We also extend our sincerest condolences to Junior Sergeant Mdinari Bebiashvili’s fellow soldiers, and wish those injured in the attack a swift recovery. Junior Sergeant Bebiashvili’s death is a tragic reminder that the fight for peace and security entails great risk and sacrifice.”

The Embassy stressed that the Georgian Armed Forces and the people of Georgia are making "vital contributions” to realizing shared objectives under NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

“We recognize that Georgia is one of the leading contributors to critical international security efforts. The United States deeply appreciates and respects Georgia’s contributions and the sacrifices that come with them,” the Embassy stated.

Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the Resolute Support mission with 885 troops.

The Resolute Support mission was a follow-on task from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, to which Georgia contributed about 750 troops.