Lithuanian military deployments
As an invited member of the NATO Alliance and the European
Union, the Republic of Lithuania plays a role in promoting security abroad
and in combating international threats. Since 1994, the Lithuanian Armed
Forces have demonstrated this commitment by deploying over 1,300 servicemen
on missions to the Balkans and, most recently, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Currently, 270 Lithuanian military personnel are involved in operations
These missions give the maturing Lithuanian Armed Forces opportunities
to put their training into practice. Lithuanian troops hone techniques
and tactics while serving alongside NATO and UN allies in danger zones.
Deployments abroad demonstrate that Lithuanian soldiers are well qualified
to meet challenges presented by the demanding operations.
Afghanistan & Iraq
Currently, 45 members of the Grand Duchess Birute Motorised Infantry
Brigade patrol and guard facilities in the town of Al-Hillah, 100 km
south of Baghdad. As part of the Polish-controlled sector, the soldiers’ mission
began in August 2003.
- In the British sector northeast of Basra, a second unit of 54 troops
from the Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion man checkpoints,
patrol, maintain public order, and guard facilities. The Lithuanian
troops have worked alongside their Danish counterparts since June 2003.
During a two-month mission to Iraq, four Lithuanian doctors served
aboard the Spanish war ship, Galicija, in Umm Qasr. They also worked
city’s hospital and provided medical assistance to residents,
as well as prisoners of war. Their workload was intensive, seeing
- 20 kilometers southwest of An Nasiryah at the Tallil Air base, an eight
man team of logistics specialists has supported the humanitarian
mission since April 2003.
- Since September 2003, two Lithuanian officers have worked within the
Combined Joint Task Force 7, headquartered in Bagdad.
In Spring 2003, a second unit of Special Forces departed for Afghanistan.
In November 2002, the first unit of 40 troops joined
US-led troops at the Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan as part of Operation “Enduring
Freedom”. Their ongoing mission is to dismantle
remnants of Taliban and Al-Qaeda support.
- Two military
doctors now serve as part the NATO-led International
Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
- Four Lithuanian doctors rendered medical aid to locals on ISAF mission,
in Afghanistan from October to December.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Lithuania’s longest-standing commitment has been to the
Stabilisation Force (SFOR) operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where
to date, over 700 Lithuanians have served. Starting in 1996, Lithuanian
soldiers began activities in Bosnia as part of a Danish contingent.
In 1999, they started serving alongside their Latvian and Estonian
In addition to patrolling, their objectives include inspecting the
weapons and ammunition of the local armed forces.
Since August 2003, 97 troops from the Dragoon Battalion have served
alongside the Danish contingent as part of the Baltic Squadron. They are currently
serving in the French-controlled sector near the city of Mitrovica
- Since 1999, platoons of 30 Lithuanian servicemen
have rotated into Kosovo every six months as part of the “Joint Guardian” mission
within the Polish–Ukrainian battalion.
- Presently, they are deployed at the White Eagle Camp, 40 km outside
Pristina near Kachanik, a town in southeastern Kosovo. Their tasks include: monitoring
the Macedonian border, collecting illegal weapons, combating smugglers
and observing and escorting local residents.
- Since March 2003, Lithuania has contributed a staff officer
to the EU-led operation CONCORDIA.
- Beginning in March 2001 until July 2003, a Lithuanian Air
force transport aircraft An-26 made approximately 1,000 flights in
support of the NATO-led
KFOR/SFOR missions. Based in Naples, Italy, the plane and crew transported
over 13,000 military personnel and 300 tons of cargo across the Balkan
Lithuania’s first mission abroad took place in 1994 when a platoon
of soldiers served as part of the UN protection force in Croatia.
A ten military medics team participated in the NATO-led “Allied
Harbour” operation in Albania in 1999.
- Two military medics have served in Kosovo in 2003 for six months within
the Czech-Slovak battalion.
- Beginning in December 1998 until March 1999, three military observers
participated in OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission.
Selection and Preparation:
Professional servicemen who volunteer and meet training, English-language
proficiency and physical requirements may serve on Lithuanian deployments
Training is tailored to each mission. For Balkan missions, Danish and
Lithuanian instructors usually carry out three-month training programs
at the Algirdas Battalion’s Rukla Base. Other deployments require
special training. For Iraq, troops had to acclimatise in Kuwait. Whilst
there, training concentrated on checkpoint inspection and patrolling
techniques as well as schooling in local customs and essential Arabic