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Saakashvili: 2 000 Troops in Iraq, at least 100 in Afghanistan
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Mar.'07 / 17:18

Georgia will increase its military presence in Iraq from the current 850 to 2 000 troops, President Saakashvili told reporters on March 9 in Tokyo, where he is paying a working visit.

He added that the deployment will be “for a limit period of time,” maximum one year.

“We should show everyone that we are not stepping back and running away from a difficult situation,” Saakashvili said.

He also said that Georgia will send “at this stage 100 Georgian servicemen” to Afghanistan to contribute to NATO-led forces there.

“But this number may increase up to 200 by the end of this year,” Saakashvili added.

According to the Georgian Defense Ministry, the Georgian side is now in consultation with its American partners to decide the exact date and terms of deployment of the additional Georgian troops in Iraq.

With its 850 servicemen in Iraq Georgia is the number two contributor to the coalition forces in terms of per capita troop deployment after the United States.

After increasing its number of troops to 2 000, Georgia will become the number one contributor in terms of per capita troop deployment.

A total of 18 Georgian servicemen have been injured in Iraq since August 2003 when Georgia first started to contribute to coalition forces there.

Georgian troops are stationed in Baghdad and Baqubah. President Saakashvili said on March 9 that the additional troops will be deployed in Baghdad.

About 100 Georgian servicemen are also deployed in Kosovo with a German-led brigade.

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