The President of Georgia visited the Georgian soldiers in the Helmand province of Afghanistan

The President of Georgia was in the Helmand province of Afghanistan today, where he met the members of the 31st Battalion participating in the ISAF peacekeeping mission. Mikheil Saakashvili toured the Shukvani Base, talked to the soldiers, and addressed them. The President of Georgia personally decorated soldiers serving in Helmand: Lieutenant Colonel Pridon Elbakidze, Captain Paata Nakani, Senior Lieutenant Giorgi Pilia, Senior Lieutenant Beka Kelenjeradze and Corporal Giorgi Lomidze for their distinguished bravery with the medal of the Ministry of Defense  named “Self-Sacrifice for the Homeland.”

After the official address, the Commander in Chief familiarized himself with the conditions of the soldiers along with the Minister of Defense, had breakfast with them in the field cafeteria, and spoke with Georgian and American soldiers. Mikheil Saakashvili told the soldiers what impression the American Generals have about them. According to the President, by participating in the ISAF mission the Georgian contingent showed the entire world that we have one of the best military contingents in the world.

“I recently spoke with General Patraeus. He noted that Helmand, where we are now, is the toughest province in Afghanistan. According to him, many of foreigners have restrictions while in Afghanistan – it is prohibited for them to get involved in the fighting. Only the British, Georgians and a couple of small contingents do not have restrictions. He expressed his gratitude before the Head of the General Staff for the bravery and boldness of the Georgian soldiers. It is truly incredible to listen to such admiration and respect of the Georgians soldiers from their side. There is practically no tougher place than this in the world. You are earning an incredibly great experience here. This will stay in the memory of our armed forces for tens and hundreds of years. I cannot imagine you being in tougher conditions than here. If we want to have a country we should have military. And if we have to have an army we need to be in Afghanistan. There is no other choice. In sum there are over 15 thousand Georgians, who have been to Afghanistan and this is an incredible military potential for a small country like ours” – stated the President of Georgia while talking to them.

Mikheil Saakashvili also went on patrol with the Georgian soldiers in armored vehicles from the Shukvani Base.

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