2019.09.27 15:00

Lithuania may increase contribution in Mali, Afghanistan, send troops to Strait of Hormuz

BNS2019.09.27 15:00

The Defence Ministry will propose to increase Lithuania's military contribution to missions in Mali and Afghanistan and to send troops to the Strait of Hormuz to help protect shipping in the Persian Gulf. 

The ministry is submitting a draft parliamentary resolution, which should be approved by Seimas before January.

"This is a tactical increase where we may be lacking [in numbers]," Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis told reporters on Friday.

According to Karoblis, Lithuanian "additional personnel with specific functions are needed" in Afghanistan.

Around 50 Lithuanian troops, mostly from Special Operations Forces, are currently deployed to NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.

Additional troops are also required in Mali, where the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces are carrying out base-protection at the German contingent's gamp in Gao.

Currently, around 40 Lithuanians are deployed to the UN-led stability operation MINUSMA in Mali.

According to Karoblis, the ministry will most probably ask to raise the threshold numbers both in MINUSMA and in Afghanistan by ten.

The minister said that the draft resolution will also provide for sending Lithuanian troops to the Strait of Hormuz, a proposal already endorsed by the State Defence Council chaired by President Gitanas Nausėda.

"It would probably be a relatively small force. We are considering [sending] staff officers," the minister said.

Read more: Lithuanian to meet 2 percent GDP defence spending this year, continue military modernisation

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