Situation in Pankisi Improved – Georgian Defense Minister Says

(Tbilisi, May 8, – “Situation in Pankisi dramatically improved since the Train-and-Equip program was loudly announced,” Georgian Defense Minister Davit Tevzadze stated at the news briefing on May 7, after the meeting with his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld.

“Yes, it seems strange even for me, but that’s true,” US Defense Department press service reports, quoting General Lieutenant David Tevzadze.

Tevzadze did not rule out that some Al Qaida fighters might be hiding in the troubled Pankisi gorge, but he added that “for me personally, it is very difficult to believe in that, because to come from Afghanistan to that part of Georgia, they need to cross at least six or seven countries,” Tevzadze said.

In the frames of the Train-and-Equip program up to 150 US military trainers will prepare four Georgian battalions in anti-terrorism activity.

The program was launched as the US administration announced that terrorist groups linked to the Al Qaida might be hiding in Pankisi gorge. 

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