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Lithuanian military unit deployed to Afghanistan will ensure protection of the Head of the Lithuanian Special Mission

2013.07.25
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On July 25 a new unit made up of members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces was formally deployed to Afghanistan in Klaipėda. The unit which will be in charge of protecting the Head of the Special Mission of the Republic of Lithuania in Afghanistan is formed by six members of the Klaipėda Garrison of the Military Police.

 

“Your Special Mission in Kabul is extraordinary with the situation on the ground is still tensed as the forces are being withdrawn from Afghanistan, and your resourcefulness and readiness are crucial for enabling the officials who will hand over the responsibility to local forces to complete the Mission successfully,” Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said at the deployment ceremony.

 

Acting Chief of the Joint Staff Colonel Egidijus Karvelis underlined that the tasks of the Head of the Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan were vital for ensuring that other personnel deployed to Afghanistan would fulfil their assignments properly.

 

Commander of the Military Police Lieutenant Colonel Gytis Kazokas wished to the incoming rotation to be as successful in their service as the previous rotations and emphasised that motivation and professionalism were an assurance of the future.

 

The Special Mission of the Republic of Lithuania in Afghanistan is a diplomatic representation established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania in 2005. The key mission of the representation is to support the activity of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Chaghcharan, capital of Ghor province. The Special Mission assists local Government in implementing development cooperation, economic and social development, education and other projects in the province. It also coordinates cooperation with other donor states, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), other international partners and local organisations. The head of the Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan is Gintaras Bagdonas.

 

The Lithuanian-led PRT is not only a two-fold mission – military and civilian. In 2006-2012 Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided LTL 16.7m financing for 204 projects in Afghanistan under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme. The support was targeted at enhancing the capacity of governmental institutions, education and healthcare sectors, rural development, and infrastructure. Lithuania has initiated collaborative efforts with Japan, the USA, Greece, Afghan Central Government and local authorities of Ghor province, international and local organisations with an aim of attracting attention and financing from the Central Government of Afghanistan and international donors to the province of Ghor.

 

Currently approx. 260 Lithuanian troops conduct service in Afghanistan. They are deployed to Ghor, NATO operational headquarters in Kabul in Herat, and in the south of Afghanistan.

 

Lithuania has scheduled to withdraw its forces from Ghor and to close the PRT mission by the end of 2013. Special Operations Squadron of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and a Lithuanian-run Air Mentoring Team (AMT) in charge of training local helicopter pilots, both deployed in southern Afghanistan, National Support Element, a smaller number of Lithuanian officers across NATO operational headquarters, and the Protection Team of the Head of the Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan will serve in Afghanistan till the end of the International Security Assistance Force's (ISAF) mission in 2014.

 

POC – Darius Jakutis, mob. phone no. 370 611 27 539.

 

Photos by the Military Police

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