The Tbilisi City Court released nine Georgian servicemen accused of theft from a shop at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan on bail of 3,000 GEL (about 1.1 thousand dollars), according to the Georgian Ministry of Defense.
A series of thefts from a shopping facility occurred in July and in total, the damage caused to the store amounted to 6.6 thousand dollars.
“For the Georgian contingent, this is a single sad case that was painfully perceived by the Ministry of Defense, the armed forces of Georgia, and the leadership and personnel of the Georgian contingent stationed in Afghanistan. The self-sacrifice and authority of the Georgian military is deservedly recognized and appreciated by the international community, and should not be identified with the Georgian peacekeeping incident” – stated the ministry.
The investigation found that on July 24, five soldiers of the infantry battalion of the peacekeeping forces entered the PX network store next to their barracks and took out goods worth about 3 thousand dollars. On the same day, the same men, who were joined by four other colleagues, again went to the store and stole goods worth 3.6 thousand dollars. All the stolen items were returned to the owner, and the men suspected of theft was returned to Georgia.
As part of the investigation, 20 witnesses were interviewed, and the store and recordings from surveillance cameras were also inspected. Based on this, all nine of the military personnel were charged with theft.
The NATO Resolute Support mission, which is declared non-combat, has been in Afghanistan since January 1 2015. According to a bilateral agreement between NATO and Afghanistan, there are more than 13,000 troops in the country, whose functions include training and consulting Afghan security forces. From the Georgian side, 872 soldiers are participating in the mission.