Georgia should continue its participation in the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan, PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on Saturday.
He made the remarks while speaking with journalists after attending a funeral service for Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze, who went missing in the Helmand province last month and whose body was found on December 29. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, as well as U.S. ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, also attended the funeral in Rustavi.
“Of course the fact that a Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan triggers questions, but I want to explain it again to the society that our troops’ contribution to global security is of course a source of pride for our country and not only we can’t say no to it, but we should further strengthen our role in this process in the future, because it is important for our country’s international image. But we should spare no efforts in order to minimize casualties as much as possible,” Ivanishvili said.
Georgia has lost total of nineteen soldiers in Afghanistan since joining ISAF mission in November, 2009, eight of them in 2012.
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.