Lithuania deploys soldiers to support counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan, Iraq
The Lithuanian Armed Forces have deployed its soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Nato-led multinational Resolute Support mission and the US-led Inherent Resolve multinational mission, respectively.
The latest contingent will replace existing Lithuanian troops, whose tour of duty ended at the Resolute Support mission headquarters in Kabul and the Train, Advise, Assist Command –West (TAAC-W).
Lithuania currently has 21 soldiers in Afghanistan and the new batch will depart for Afghanistan by the Lithuanian Air Force’s Spartan aircraft.
The Resolute Support mission seeks to train, advise and assist national security forces, ministries and other authorities of Afghanistan.
Chief of the Joint Staff major general Vitalijus Vaikšnoras said: “Lithuania is always contributing actively to Nato, European Union, United Nations missions and operations within its capacity.
“It is an important expression of Lithuania’s commitments to international security, and also a way to strengthen the European Common Security and Defence Policy, Nato collective defence and military cooperation.”
During a meeting in Brussels on 29 June, Nato Defence Ministers agreed to strengthen Nato forces in Afghanistan and increase troops numbers to help national security forces counter terrorism threats.
Lithuania is increasing its contribution by seven additional soldiers who will be deployed this autumn, Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania stated.
Another group of Lithuania soldiers are intended to replace six officers of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Headquarters Battalion who were deployed to the Operation Inherent Resolve in February.
Lithuanian soldiers are training Iraqi security forces together with allies and the new group of six will work alongside the Kingdom of Denmark contingent to train Iraqi security forces to fight ISIS alongside troops from Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia.
Image: Lithuania contributes actively to Nato, European Union, United Nations missions. Photo: courtesy of Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania.