Georgia sent 31st infantry battalion to Afghanistan on April 7 to serve alongside with the U.S. marines in the province of Helmand, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.
A departure ceremony for 750 Georgian soldiers was held in the Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi, attended by Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and other senior defense officials, as well as by U.S. ambassador in Georgia, John Bass; Lt. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and Brig. Gen. Paul W. Brier, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe.
Before the departure, the 31st battalion underwent a six-month training course led by the U.S. marines.
Deployment of 31st infantry battalion will mark increase of number of Georgian troops in Afghanistan up to 950, making Georgia the largest per capita contributor to the Afghan operation. Georgia sent 175 soldiers to Afghanistan to serve under the French command last November.