The soldier, identified as Sgt. Giorgi Kikadze, disappeared Dec. 19 in the southern province of Helmand, which is at the center of the Taliban insurgency.
Acting on a tip from a local villager, Afghan police accompanied by international troops recovered the soldier’s body Saturday from an empty house in Helmand’s Musa Qala district, not far from his base, said district Gov. Nemat Khan. He had been shot four times in the head, the governor said.
A statement from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led force in Afghanistan said police found the soldier’s body and turned him over to international troops. An investigation is underway into the circumstances of his capture and death, the statement said without elaborating.
Such disappearances are rare. The only other member of the International Security Assistance Force listed as missing in Afghanistan is U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.
Attempts to secure Bergdahl’s release through a prisoner exchange foundered this year, with the Taliban accusing the United States of failing to follow through on a proposal to transfer several Taliban prisoners held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
At a time when major contributors to the international force in Afghanistan are drawing down, the former Soviet republic of Georgia doubled its troop commitment to more than 1,500 this year.
In a statement announcing Kikadze’s death, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Alasania apologized to the soldier’s mother for raising her hopes that he would be returned to the family alive. He also pledged to “take all security measures to avoid such tragedies in the future.”