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Up to 100 Lithuanian troops to remain in Afghanistan in 2015

BC, Vilnius, 09.12.2014.Print version

On 5 December Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Zukas and a delegation visited Lithuanian troops serving in the NATO peace support operation in Afghanistan, the Ministry of National Defence said.


"Even though NATO's involvement in Afghanistan will be conducted with significantly reduced forces in the framework of a new operation next year, Lithuania will continue contributing to NATO activities in the country and will deploy up to 100 soldiers. This is more than our interest, this is NATO interest, and a result of a high evaluation of our troops," the chief of defence said.


According to Major General Zukas, the active withdrawal of NATO forces and related takedown of infrastructure is felt across Afghanistan. NATO forces have already virtually adapted to the new organisation of the Resolute Support Mission and are actively preparing to take on the mission as of the beginning of next year.


"I would like to highlight that the security situation in Afghanistan is getting tenser as NATO forces are reducing. The Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Security Forces fail to withstand the pressure from Taliban fighters by themselves on rather numerous occasions, therefore we witness a certain increase in the numbers of attacks against NATO forces and NGOs operating in the country. Such situation will require not only great performance but also vigilance and professionalism while moving outside their compound," Zukas said.


The Lithuanian Chief of Defence presented awards to Lithuanian military who had distinguished themselves while serving in Afghanistan, presented the most recent situation in the Lithuanian Armed Forces, his future vision, and perspectives for the development the Lithuanian Armed Forces, answered questions, and offered best wishes of the upcoming holidays. The Senior Chaplain Major Remigijus Butkevicius called Lithuanian military in Kabul and Kandahar for a collective prayer and celebration of a holly mass.


There are roughly 70 Lithuanians deployed in Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF). The major part of the Lithuanian contingent in Afghanistan is made up by personnel of the Aitvaras Lithuanian Special Operations Forces Squadron completing reconnaissance tasks and training Special Rapid Response Company of the Afghan National Police in Kandahar.

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