Withdrawal from Afghanistan or “Georgian Dream”?

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According to claims of Georgian authorities, the country is ready to provide Baku – Kars railroad for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan after 2014.  Although   the railway project is not completed yet, the railroad will be constructed by the time the withdrawal of troops will begin.Experts think that, it is the cheapest and easiest way for the Alliance.

Every war has a beginning and an end. The War in Afghanistan, where  NATO’s armies entered in the 2001, comes to an end too ; otherwise, the western allies will have to leave the Islamic Republic after 2014. One of the main reasons which induced the U.S. President Barack Obama to disengage armies from Afghanistan, acknowledged by the U.S. government itself, is the high cost of military operations which are conducted by the Pentagon, which is estimated at 2.5 trillion dollars, as American economists have concluded. Withdrawal of troops is a very knotty problem connected with considerable expenses as well as their transfer in a zone of operations including the fact that Afghanistan has no exit to the sea which complicates the transfer of large freights even more.

NATO has been considering for a long time now several options in order to export its equipment, including through the Russian Federation. Transferring the troop to Europe through Russia though, will cause   an indignation storm by several Russian ruling circles. On the other hand, Georgia does not want to stand aside. The country’s authorities have already suggested to the Alliance to use the Georgian territory for the withdrawal of troops. During the last meeting in Brussels the Secretary General of NATO Anders Fog Rasmussen and the prime minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili mentioned the necessity of the following topic.

The Foreign Minister of Georgia Maya Pandzhikidze suggested the Alliance to use Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad whose construction will have be finished by  the demanded period for the purposes of the Alliance. The railroad of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is constructed on the basis of  a Georgian- Azerbaijani-Turkish interstate agreement. Azerbaijan allocated the credit for the sum of 775 million dollars for the construction of the Georgian site that has allocated the credit for the sum of 775 million dollars.

Additionally Turkey will finish the construction of a railway tunnel under the Bosporus which will connect the European and Asian parts of the country. Within this project Azerbaijan will connectwith Europe through Georgia and Turkey.

After 2014 the North Atlantic Alliance will continue operations in Afghanistan, but only at the level of military experts, and although part of military equipment will remain in the country,  the most will be removed. A similar action took place  after the  withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1989, where part of equipment was left in the country due to high cost of operations.

Georgia participates in NATO operation in Afghanistan since 2009  and at the time there are 1700 Georgian soldiers and officers. The Georgian authorities noted that this fact promotes integration of the country into the  North Atlantic Alliance. The alliance and the USA repeatedly thanked Georgia for this contribution, however they noted that the process of admission of Georgia in the military block directly, is not connected with its participation in this operation.