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Lithuanian special forces soldiers joining the NATO operation in Afghanistan

2018.04.24
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On April 24 Special Operations Task Group formed by soldiers of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces is joining the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan. The team of special forces advisors will train, advise and support Afghan security forces in the implementation of their tasks alongside other allies.

 

‘Service in the NATO Operation Resolute Support not only allows soldiers of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces to contribute to mutual efforts and responsibility of NATO allies and partners to combat global terrorism but also to acquire up-to-date and relevant skills and knowledge vital for ensuring security, resilience and stability in Lithuania and the Baltic region in cooperation with NATO allies and partners,” Commander of the Special Operations Forces Colonel Modestas Petrauskas said.

 

The Ministry of National Defence took the decision to increase military contribution to the NATO-led multinational Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan with regard to the requests of NATO and NATO allies. It is Lithuania’s input into the efforts of strengthening international security. According to Minister R.Karoblis, Lithuania receives strong support from its allies, therefore, as a responsible member of international community and NATO, it contributes as much as it can to the efforts to tackle global issues. “It has been a while since terrorism has become a real threat in Europe rather than theoretical one, so we are strengthening security of Lithuania and the region by preventing the spread of terrorism,” he underscores.

 

Aside from the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, over 20 Lithuanian troops are currently deployed to the NATO Operation Resolute Support. When the special forces soldiers are deployed, the total number of Lithuanian military in Afghanistan will comply with the decision of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania to have no more than 50 soldiers deployed.

 

Lithuania will also allot annual USD 0.5 million (nearly EUR 415 thousand) in 2018-2020 for maintenance and training of the Afghan national security forces. Lithuania has been contributing to the trust fund, mainly financed by the U.S., since 2015.

 

Lithuania also continues its participation in the U.S.-led Coalition against ISIS/Daesh in Iraq but will not be increasing the contribution at the moment – a decision made after consultations with coalition partners and representatives of the United States.

 

Aside from multinational operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, currently Lithuanian soldiers are deployed to operations in Kosovo, Ukraine, Mali, Central African Republic, Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

 

Photo from the MoD archive (credit: Sgt Spc Ieva Budzeikaitė)

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