Some details emerged on Sunday about circumstances surrounding a Georgian soldier, who was reported missing in the Helmand province of Afghanistan almost two weeks ago and found dead on Saturday.
NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said in a press release on Sunday that the body of missing Georgian soldier was found by members of the Afghan police.
Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze had been captured, ISAF said; it, however did not provide details, saying that circumstances of the soldier’s “capture and death are under investigation.”
The Georgian Ministry of Defense also declined to provide details citing ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported citing a local Afghan official, that a villager found the Georgian soldier’s body about 15 km from the Georgian servicemen’s base in Helmand’s Musa Qala district.
AFP news agency reported quoting Musa Qala district governor Nemat Khan that Sgt. Kikadze’s body was found in an empty house.
“He was shot by bullets,” AFP quoted the district governor.
According to the Georgian Ministry of Defense Stg. Kikadze went missing on December 19; ISAF, however, said the Georgian soldier was reported missing on December 18.
Georgian MoD said that search and rescue operation had been ongoing since then, led by the Regional Command Southwest, whose area of responsibility is Helmand and Nimroz provinces. MoD said last week that deputy chief of staff of the Georgian armed forces had been sent to Afghanistan.
Georgian MoD announced about Stg. Kikadze’s death late on December 29.
This recent incident brings Georgian military death toll in Afghanistan to 19; eight of them died this year.
Georgia has almost doubled its contribution to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan in October to over 1,560 soldiers, becoming the largest non-NATO contributor to the ISAF operation.
Georgia currently has two battalions in the Helmand province of Afghanistan – 12th battalion of the first infantry brigade and 32nd battalion of the third infantry brigade; for the latter it is a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.