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Georgian troops training in October 2002 as part of the Georgia Train and Equip Program

The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million plan designed to increase the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces. On 27 February 2002 it began to be reported in the US media that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. This program implemented President Bush's decision to respond to the Government of Georgia's request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

This move drew protests from many Russians. On 1 March 2002, over domestic outcry, Russian president Vladimir Putin met with Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze in Kazakhstan and pledged his support for the American military initiative.

The Program began in May 2002 when the US funded the GTEP to train Georgian Armed Forces (12th "Commando" Light Infantry Battalion, 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, 13th "Shavnabada" Light Infantry Battalion, 11th Light Infantry Battalion, Mechanized company, and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.)[1 ] This was anticipated to cost around $64-million dollars to train and equip four 600 man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program was said to be tied to Operation Enduring Freedom as a means to speed up funding.[2]

Although GTEP formally came to a close in April 2004, US military assistance continued with the Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program. Part of this program was involved in preparing Georgian units for operations with the US led Multinational Force Iraq. The program ended in September 2007.

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