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Georgia Mourns Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan (07.06.13)

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has declared June 7 a national day of mourning for soldiers killed in a suicide blast in Afghanistan on Thursday.

"I offer my deepest condolences to the families of our fallen heroes and to all of Georgia," Saakashvili said in a televised address.

The Georgian military earlier said seven servicemen were killed and nine injured when a suicide bomber blew up a truck packed with explosives at the Georgian base in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

All casualties were from the 42nd light infantry battalion of the 4th brigade, which was deployed in the Helmand province in April.

It was the second terrorist attack on the base in a month. On May 13, a similar suicide blast killed three and injured several other Georgian soldiers.

In all, 29 Georgian servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan since 2009, when Georgia joined the NATO-led force fighting Taliban in the war-torn Central Asian country.

Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with over 1,500 troops deployed in the Helmand province and in the capital, Kabul.

Georgia, which is actively seeking NATO membership, said last year that Georgian troops will continue their assistance to Afghanistan’s