ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan killed seven Georgian soldiers late Thursday, as the Afghan Taliban continues to ramp up assaults in the midst of its spring offensive against U.S.-led coalition troops.
The Georgian Defense Ministry said the soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Helmand, a southern province that has long been a Taliban stronghold. The troops had been deployed in Afghanistan since April, the ministry said in a statement. Nine Georgian soldiers were injured in the attack, but their injuries were not life-threatening.
Georgia, a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus Mountains region, is a strong ally of the U.S. and has more than 1,500 soldiers serving in Afghanistan, with most of them deployed in Helmand. The country, which for years has expressed a desire to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has the largest deployment of soldiers in Afghanistan from a non-NATO nation.
The country’s Defense Ministry called the soldiers’ deaths “an irreparable loss not only for their families but for the whole of Georgia.”
The bombing came a month after a suicide attack killed three Georgian soldiers and injured several at their base in Helmand province.
[For the Record, 10:22 p.m. June 6: A previous version of this post said in the headline that six Georgians had died. The correct number is seven.]
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