Georgian forces have started the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan as part of the broader pull-out of American and NATO forces from the country.
Georgia has for many years been an important contributor to ISAF - the NATO led forces that has been in place in the country for nearly two decades. The Georgian contingent operated under the German command in Mazar-i-Sharif and its main task was to carry out rapid response tasks.
The return of Georgian peacekeepers from the international mission in marked by a ceremony at the Vaziani military complex near Tbilisi, attended by the Minister of Defense of Georgia, Juansher Burchuladze and the Commander of the Defense Forces, Major General Giorgi Matiashvili. They congratulated the personnel on the dignified and successful performance of their mission.
Those present also remembered those soldiers who were killed in action during the operation in Afghanistan. Dozens of Georgian soldiers were killed or injured during the Afghanistan operation.
Since 2004, more than 20,000 Georgian servicemen have participated in the mission in Afghanistan, usually serving six monthly rotations. Predominantly tasked with peacekeeping in the volatile Helmand province, Georgia was the largest non-NATO, as well as largest per-capita, contributor to the ISAF.