: Georgia deploys troops to Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission
Politics13:43 Mar. 22, 2016

Georgia deploys troops to Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission

NATO is investing in projects to help Georgia improve its defensive capability

These Georgian troops will soon be in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission.

Georgia is the second highest troop-contributing nation after the US.

Yash Holbrook, NATO Core Team: "Georgians have been fighting and dying with the coalition for years now, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have made a very clear commitment to move closer to NATO, and closer to Euro-Atlantic integration, and I think it's the very least that we can do. It's kind of a moral obligation to help them in that decision."

NATO support is particularly important to Georgia given the existence on its territory of two breakaway regions: South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

South Ossetia broke away from Georgia as the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s and has depended heavily on Russian support and subsidies to survive ever since. Alongside Georgia's other renegade region of Abkhazia its independence is not recognised by the international community.

Read also NATO and Georgia wrap up two-week military drills

Russia's backing for the territories was cemented during a 5-day war with Georgia in 2008. Moscow said at the time it was intervening to protect Russian speakers. It made similar claims when it annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014. A weak response by the international community to the Kremlin's actions in Georgia has been credited with encouraging Russia to seize the Black Sea region.

Watch also Brothers in arms: Ukrainians and Georgians fight Russia together

Georgians appear to be aware of the dangers.

Colonel Omar Begoidze, Deputy Chief of Staff"Georgia is not a member of any alliance. That is why we need to rely on ourselves first. For this purpose, we need the support from allies in providing Georgia with the tools to defend ourselves."

NATO is investing in projects to help Georgia improve its defensive capability. The alliance calls this The Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, or SNGP.

It contains 13 projects tackling areas such as cyber defence and strategic communications. it is hoped the project will both help Georgia defend itself and strengthen security in the region.

Read also Lithuania supports Georgia's territorial integrity in South Ossetia border dispute - PM

Tinatin Khidasheli, Minister of Defence of Georgia: "SNGP is the full picture of what is it that Georgia needs in order to become a comparable state to NATO countries, to become more advanced in its defence capabilities, to become closer to NATO."

Whether armed conflict, cyber threat or hybrid warfare, ‎Georgia‬ and NATO hope they will be ready for whatever comes next.

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