#45 - JRL 2009-197 - JRL Home

U.S., Georgia begin joint military drills on Monday

TBILISI, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - The United States and Georgia begin on Monday two-week joint military drills in preparation for sending troops to Afghanistan.

The joint military exercise, code-named Immediate Response, will be held in Georgia and include training in counterterrorist operations. U.S. military instructors have already arrived at the Krtsanisi training center.

The Georgian Parliament in August approved President Mikheil Saakashvili's initiative to deploy one marine company and one marine battalion to Afghanistan to help in the peacekeeping mission. According to Georgia's Defense Ministry, the company will be commanded by U.S. forces and the battalion by French forces in Afghanistan.

General Stanley McChrystal, the ISAF commander, earlier asked U.S. President Barack Obama to authorize sending up to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to effectively fight the Taliban.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan, with the radical Islamic Taliban group, toppled in the 2001 U.S.-led campaign, staging regular attacks on provincial government officials, police and troops. There were over 70 attacks across the country during the August 20 presidential polls.

Georgia with the U.S. support has requested to become a NATO member, but at the NATO summit in April 2008, members refused to admit the post-Soviet countries into the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step for membership.

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