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US to train Georgian troops for Afghan mission: Pentagon

The US military has said it will launch a training mission in Georgia to help a battalion prepare for deployment to Afghanistan, a move that risks aggravating relations with Russia.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2009 14:59 IST

The US military has said it will launch a training mission in Georgia to help a battalion prepare for deployment to Afghanistan, a move that risks aggravating relations with Russia.

A team of US Marines will leave in the next few days to begin training a 750-strong infantry battalion that heads to Afghanistan in 2010, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

The training, which formally starts next month, will be designed "to get them ready for their spring 2010 deployment and to ensure they're able to operate alongside ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) partners," Whitman said yesterday.

The NATO-led ISAF coalition comprises more than 100,000 troops, with about 62,000 forces from the United States.

The number of Marines in the training contingent will fluctuate but will number as many as 60-70 instructors, Whitman said.

A similar US training effort for troops headed to Iraq was suspended last year when Georgia waged a brief war with Russian forces over South Ossetia.

About 2,000 Georgian troops were deployed in Iraq from August 2003 but were rushed back in a conflict that saw Russia crush the ex-Soviet state's US-backed military.