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Georgian troops return to troubled homeland

By John J. Kruzel , American Forces Press Service

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A soldier from the 13th Georgian Army Battalion provides security during a joint clearing operation with Iraqi troops in Ali Shaheen village, Iraq, last March.
A soldier from the 13th Georgian Army Battalion provides security during a joint clearing operation with Iraqi troops in Ali Shaheen village, Iraq, last March.

Aug. 12, 2008 — WASHINGTON (Aug. 12, 2008)  – The United States has redeployed some 2,000 Georgian troops from Iraq to their home country, where a contingent of fewer than 100 American military personnel remain, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.

  Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States, meanwhile, is prepared to provide humanitarian aid to Georgia, where clashes with Russia broke out last week in the breakaway region of South Ossetia in the former Soviet republic and escalated over following days. No humanitarian missions currently are under way, he added.

American C-17s began shuttling the brigade of Georgian forces Aug. 10 and completed the redeployment yesterday, Whitman said. The U.S.-provided transport adhered to an agreement that U.S. and Georgian government officials arranged before Russian tanks and troops crossed Georgia’s border on Aug. 8.

“We are fulfilling our agreement with the Georgian government that in an emergency we would assist them in redeploying their troops,” Whitman said. “We are honoring that commitment, and we are following through with that.”

A contingent of fewer than 100 U.S. military personnel remains in Georgia, the Pentagon spokesman told reporters. Some American personnel left Monday, but the forces currently there are safe and accounted for, he added.

“They are not involved in the conflict,” he said, “but they are remaining there for now.”