Total of 93 Georgian soldiers have been wounded in 2010-2012 while serving in Afghanistan, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense.
The information was obtained by the Tbilisi-based Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) from the MoD under the freedom of information act and released on January 4.
MoD usually does not release information about the incidents in which Georgian soldiers sustain injuries and precise number of Georgian servicemen wounded in action in Afghanistan remained unclear until now. The most recently when Civil.ge tried to obtain this information was in November, 2012 but MoD at the time declined the request.
20 Georgian servicemen were wounded in 2010, when Georgian soldiers were first deployed in the Helmand province; 44 more were wounded in following year and 29 soldiers were wounded as of November 26, 2012.
Georgia joined ISAF mission in November 2009 with deployment of about 170 soldiers in Kabul. In April, 2010 Georgia increased its contribution by sending a battalion to the Helmand province and in October, 2012 Georgia almost doubled its presence in Afghanistan to over 1,560 soldiers after sending one more battalion to the Helmand province.
Georgia has lost total of nineteen soldiers in Afghanistan, eight of them in 2012.
The most recent casualty was last month after dead body of a missing Sergeant Giorgi Kikadze was found in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province on December 29.
PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said after attending a funeral service for Sergeant Kikadze in the town of Rustavi on January 5 that Georgia should continue its participation in the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan.
“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,” PM Ivanishvili said.
President Saakashvili spent New Year’s Eve with the Georgian troops in the Helmand province telling them that their “mission was of historic importance”.
Last month MoD announced about the plan to increase salaries of the Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan starting from January, 2013. After this announcement, President Saakashvili said while visiting Afghanistan that he was intending to initiate legislative amendments envisaging additional social benefits in a form of pension for the soldiers, who served in Afghanistan, and their families.