Two Georgian battalions prepare for Afghan deployment

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania is visiting the U.S. army training center in southern Germany, where two Georgian battalions are undergoing pre-deployment training and final exercises before heading to Afghanistan.

Soldiers from 31st light infantry battalion of the third brigade and Batumi-based infantry battalion are trained by the U.S. instructors at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels.

It will be the third tour of duty in southern Afghan province of Helmand for the 31st light infantry battalion. The battalion was the first Georgian military unit, which was deployed in Helmand to serve alongside with the U.S. marines in April, 2010.

During the visit the Georgian Defense Minister will meet U.S. Army Europe's commander Lt Gen. Donald Campbell Jr and will also visit the U.S. army-operated Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Heidelberg Health Clinic where several Georgian soldiers, wounded in Afghanistan, are undergoing medical treatment, according to the Defense Ministry.

Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to coalition forces in Afghanistan with 1,561 troops. Two battalions are stationed in Helmand and up to 50 soldiers are deployed in Camp Phoenix in Kabul. Georgia lost 29 soldiers in Afghanistan.

Adapted from Civil Georgia