Georgian Troops Leave Afghanistan
Georgian service members take part in a ceremony closing the Noble Partner 2020 multinational military exercises conducted by Georgian, British, French, Polish and U.S. troops at Vaziani firing ground outside Tbilisi, Georgia September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze
On June 28, 2021, Georgia completed the withdrawal of its peacekeeping troop contingent from Afghanistan.
It’s been 20 years since the US started to deploy troops to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the “9-11” terrorist attacks that caused the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. Soldiers from 43 NATO allies and other countries joined the UN-authorized International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which, at its peak, had an estimated 130,000 troops in Afghanistan. Although that mission was declared over in late 2014, a smaller NATO-led ‘Resolute Support Mission’ has continued till now with just under 10,000 soldiers from 36 nations. Of these, the fourth biggest contributor country in terms of manpower was Georgia, with 860 pairs of boots on the ground. Tbilisi sent its first contingent to ISAF in 2004, and over the last 17 years, more than 20,000 Georgian troops have participated in multiple rotations.
The US started the full-scale withdrawal of its Afghanistan forces in May 2021, and the entire multinational peacekeeping operation is expected to end by September 11, 2021. Azerbaijan, too will send home its 120 troops. Already the growing power vacuum is starting to have its effect as Taliban forces put increasing pressure on the Afghan army with problems threatening to spill over into neighbouring Tajikistan.