Lithuania will consider sending more troops, civilians to Afghanistan, defmin says
Lithuania will consider sending more troops to Afghanistan and also appoint a civilian representative, says Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Raimundas Karoblis, currently on a visit to Afghanistan.
Speaking with BNS Lithuania, the minister said Lithuania had recently received a request to boost its military contingent in Afghanistan.
"During the force generation process, we have recently received a request to increase our capabilities," Karoblis said. "If it's still in force, so we'll look for those capabilities, despite certain restrictions we have, (…) we are definitely ready to consider this question."
Around 50 Lithuanian troops are part of the NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, aimed at training local forces. This number is mentioned in the Lithuanian parliament's mandate in place until 2020. Around 30 Lithuanian troops in Kandahar come from the Special Operations Forces. There are also Lithuanian staff officers, military policemen, logistics specialists and air force troops in the country.
According to the Lithuanian minister, the issue of increasing Lithuania's military presence in Afghanistan will be discussed closer to 2020 and the parliament will be asked to update the existing mandate.
Karoblis also said he discussed a possibility to appoint a Lithuanian civilian representative in Afghanistan. After his meetings with the leadership of the NATO mission in Kabul, the Lithuanian national defense minister said the mood regarding the situation in Afghanistan is "cautiously optimistic", first of all, because of the first general election the Afghanis held independently in October.
"We can say it was the first successfully reached stage," Karoblis said.