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Minister of National Defence visit Lithuanian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan


Delegation led by Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas arrived at Kandahar, Afghanistan, to meet with Lithuanian Special Operations Forces soldiers, July 29. The delegation includes member of the European Parliament Laima Liucija Andrikiene, member of National Security and Defence Committee of Seimas Milda Petrauskiene, Alytus Mayor Ceslovas Daugela, representatives of Foreign Affairs Ministry and Ministry of National Defence.

Members of delegation will look at tasks in the squadron's responsibility and conditions of service. Soldiers of Lithuanian Special Operations Force has been taking part in NATO ISAF mission in southern Afghanistan since 2007.

On July 30 the delegation will go to Kabul where J.Olekas will meet with members of Afghan Government: Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Hamidullah Qaderi, Minister of Public Health Dr. Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimie, Minister of Public Welfare Dr. Sohrab Ali Saffary. Their meetings will address security situation in the region and prospective projects of Ghowr reconstruction and development. Further on meetings of the Minister, operational command and Ambassador of the US are scheduled at NATO ISAF HQ.

Afterwards the delegation will depart from Kabul to meet with Lithuanian-led PRT in Ghowr. Members of delegation will visit PRT compound to see conditions of soldiers' service, daily living and leisure, later they will proceed to provincial capital Chaghcharan.

7th rotation of Lithuanian-led PRT is currently fulfilling mission in Ghowr. Peacekeepers are led by Col. Ramunas Baronas. Present rotation is formed on the basis of Lithuanian Grand Duchess Birute Motorised Infantry Battalion deployed in Alytus.

Despite Lithuanian military and civilians personnel of PRT-7 also includes members from Denmark, Croatia, US, Ukraine and Georgia.

The official delegation was accompanied by popular singer Marijonas Mikutavicius who will perform for troops deployed to Ghowr and Kandahar.

Delegation is scheduled to return to Lithuania on Friday, August 1.

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100 reserve troops underwent skills refresher training at the Lithuanian Grand Duchess Birutė Uhlan Battalion.  Photo credit: SFC Romas Albaitis.
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