Georgia lost its 16th soldier in Afghanistan this week, when Sergeant Valerian Khujadze died in a roadside bomb attack in Helmand Province. The mounting death toll has made Georgia's participation in the Afghanistan war an increasingly controversial issue in Georgia, with opposition politicians speaking out against it and soldiers trying to avoid being sent to Afghanistan.
The country's most formidable opposition figure, Bidzina Ivanishvili, does not seem to have spoken publicly about the Afghanistan mission, though he has endorsed NATO membership. Several of his political allies in his Georgian Dream movement, though, have been publicly critical of Georgia's role in Afghanistan, in a series of statements which Vladimir Socor has enumerated:
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