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Leadership of the NATO mission in Afghanistan heaps praise on Lithuanian military
On April 13 Minister of National Defence Raimunndas Karoblis concluded the visit in Afghanistan. During the visit the Lithuanian delegation met with the leadership of the NATO mission in Afghanistan Resolute Support, Lithuanian soldiers serving as part of it, visited the Train Advise Assist Command – West (TAAC – West) in Herat.
During the visits security situation in the region and activities of the mission were presented to the Minister. The mission trains the Afghan National Security Forces and is of a non-combat character.The objective of Resolute Support is to train, advice and assist the national security forces, ministries, and other authorities of Afghanistan in ensuring stability in the country.
“The situation in Afghanistan is not improving as quickly as we would like to: reforms are impeded by unrest in the region and corruption levels, however, certain stability has been achieved in the region by joint efforts of NATO allies,” Minister R.Karoblis said after the meeting. “However, this mission is critical as a security guarantee to prevent expansion of terrorism and drug trafficking. It is a global concern and patience is of strategic value in this fight.” According to the Minister, the matter is clearly understood by the participating NATO allies that continue deploying soldiers to the mission.
The meetings also addressed Lithuania’s contribution to the security in the region. Last year Lithuania increased its input by deploying six more soldiers to Afghanistan. There are currently the total of 21 Lithuanian soldiers in Afghanistan, 8 more will be deployed in the summer.
“I am sincerely proud of our soldiers – the mission leadership underscore their competence and dedication on numerous occasions,” R. Karoblis said. “During the meetings the mission leadership thanked Lithuania many times for the contribution – Lithuanian military personnel have solely excellent reputation here“.
Chief of the Joint Staff Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras who accompanied the Minister on the visit said that multinational deployments offer priceless experience to Lithuanian troops where they acquire new skills and work in the environment of top standards. “Our soldiers in Afghanistan deserve the highest respect and acknowledgement not only for performing their tasks professionally but also for representing the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the state respectably.”
On the way back from Afghanistan R.Karoblis and his delegation stopped by the NATO-Georgian Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) in Tbilisi whose activities Lithuania provides support to, a Lithuanian officer is serving alongside colleagues from the Baltic and the Nordic countries.
NATO has been conducting Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan since early 2015. The mission is carried out by 39 countries. NATO allies and partners of the operation decided at the Warsaw Summit last year to conduct the mission and will be contributing over USD 800 million annually to the Afghan National Security Forces till 2020.
Resolute Support is headquartered in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. Eight Lithuanian servicemembers are serving in accordance with their areas of competence in different divisions of the headquarters. A team of Lithuanian Military Police officers serving at the headquarters perform international military police functions together with Australian and American colleagues: ensure discipline, prevent criminal offences and other violations. Lithuanian soldiers also perform functions of the national support element, provide logistical support to Lithuanian military personnel serving in Afghanistan.
Five Lithuanians from different units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces serve in different divisions of the Train Advise Assist Command – West (TAAC – West) in north western Afghanistan near Herat.
Lithuania’s participation in the mission in Afghanistan is the largest and longest international commitment of our country: over 3,000 Lithuanian soldiers have been serving in Afghanistan since 2002.
Photo credits: MoD