On July 4 deployment ceremony will be held at the Joint Staff HQ for Lithuanian Armed Forces soldiers leaving for the NATO-led multinational Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the U.S.-led multinational mission in Iraq Inherent Resolve.
The deployment ceremony will be attended by Chief of the Joint Staff Major General Vitalijus Vaikšnoras, commanders and families of the deployed soldiers, and other guests.
The leaving soldiers will replace Lithuanian troops whose tour of duty ended at the Resolute Support Mission HQ in Kabul and the Train, Advise, Assist Command –West (TAAC-W). The Lithuanian contingent in Afghanistan currently numbers 21 soldiers. The new shift is planned to depart for Afghanistan by the Lithuanian Air Force Spartan aircraft within a short while.
At the meeting in Brussels on June 29 NATO Defence Ministers agreed to strengthen NATO forces in Afghanistan and increase troops numbers. The decisions was made as a response to the complex (deteriorating) security situation and the challenges national security forces had to face in countering terrorism threats. Lithuania increases its contribution by 7 additional soldiers who will be deployed this fall.
The second team of military instructors will be farewelled at the deployment ceremony before leaving for the U.S.-led operation Inherent Resolve. It will replace six officers of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Headquarters Battalion who were deployed to the mission in February.
Lithuanian soldiers are training Iraqi security forces together with allies. The new group of six will serve with the Kingdom of Denmark contingent and train Iraqi security forces to fight the Islamic State alongside troops from Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia. The soldiers will leave for the area of operation in Iraq together with members of the Danish contingent in the end of the month. Just like in all other ongoing missions, Lithuanians do not take part combat actions in the U.S.-led Inherent Resolve.
Contribution to multinational operations 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.