Georgian soldier killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan
Private First Class Vasil Kulijanishvili, 21, “died Tuesday in a clash that took place while on patrol” at the Bagram Airfield, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kabul, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told a cabinet meeting before ministers observed a moment of silence.
His death takes the total number of foreign troops killed since NATO formally ended its combat operations in Afghanistan to six.
Another Georgian national was wounded in the clash, which the Taliban claimed via their recognised Twitter account.
“His condition is stable,” Gabribashvili said of the second soldier.
Some 885 Georgian soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, making the country the second-largest contributor after the United States to the 12,500-strong NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the insurgents carried out a rocket attack on the facility, NATO’s largest base in the country, on Tuesday evening.
The Taliban has been waging a bloody insurgency against the western-backed Kabul government since a US-led invasion ousted them from power in late 2001.
Their new leader Mullah Akhter Mansour, in a message marking the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Adha, warned the government Tuesday it must cancel a security deal with the US and expel all foreign troops if it wants peace.
NATO ended its combat mission in Afghanistan last December and pulled out the bulk of its troops. The residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.