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Last updated: 06-Feb-2004 14:19 7 Invitees -Lithuania

 

Operations Abroad:
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 abroad.

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.

Missions to Afghanistan & Iraq

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 in the city’s hospital and provided medical assistance to residents, as well as prisoners of war. Their workload was intensive, seeing 40-60 patients per day.
  • 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.

Afghanistan:

  • 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 Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
  • Four Lithuanian doctors rendered medical aid to locals on ISAF mission, in Afghanistan from October to December.

Balkan Deployments

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 counterparts. In addition to patrolling, their objectives include inspecting the weapons and ammunition of the local armed forces.


Kosovo

  • 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 in northern Kosovo.
  • 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.

Macedonia

  • Since March 2003, Lithuania has contributed a staff officer to the EU-led operation CONCORDIA.

Missions Accomplished:

  • 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 region.
  • 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 abroad.

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 phrases.