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Panetta Offers Condolences for Georgian Soldiers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today called Georgian Defense Minister Bachana Akhalaia to express his condolences for the Feb. 21 deaths of three Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

The soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Helmand province.

The secretary thanked his Georgian counterpart for his country’s continued support to the International Security Assistance Force mission, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said. Panetta also praised the exceptional performance of Georgian soldiers serving in Afghanistan, he added.

Helmand province is located within ISAF’s Regional Command Southwest. NATO officials said Georgia has contributed ISAF troops since 2004 and currently has 935 service members in Afghanistan, mostly in Regional Command Capital and Regional Command South.

In all, 15 Georgian troops have been killed and 38 have been injured in Afghanistan. The former Soviet republic has been working toward becoming a NATO member nation.


Leon E. Panetta

Related Sites:
State Department Background Note on Georgia
NATO International Security Assistance Force

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