TBILISI, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. military specialists are starting on Tuesday a new training course for Georgian troops set to join an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, the Georgian Defense Ministry said.
A team of U.S. marine instructors earlier arrived in Georgia to train a battalion for service as part of coalition forces in Afghanistan. A team of 60-70 marines will be in the country for six months to help train a 750-strong battalion.
The Georgian parliament unanimously approved in August sending troops to Afghanistan in support of a NATO-led peacekeeping operation in the war-torn country.
According to earlier reports, a total of 350 Georgian servicemen will be sent to central and eastern Afghanistan to join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which has about 65,000 troops in Afghanistan under a UN mandate to give security support to the Afghan government and stop the flow of drugs from the country.
An infantry company will be sent to the French responsibility zone, an infantry battalion to the U.S. responsibility zone, and two servicemen to the Turkish responsibility zone.
Meanwhile, military support provided by the U.S. to Georgia, and the Caucasus country's drive to join NATO, are a major point of contention in both countries' relations with Russia.
Moscow has accused Washington of promoting Tbilisi's aggression against the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia last August. Russia repelled the attack, fighting a five-day war with Georgia.
The United States helped train Georgian troops for a mission in Iraq before last August's armed conflict.