The mission is being recalled in the wake of a decrease in the number of projects carried out in Afghanistan, lower financial volumes and decreasing military presence, the Foreign Ministry said in a draft governmental resolution.
“In response to the changes in the volume of development cooperation with Afghanistan and the reducing Lithuanian military contribution in Afghanistan starting the beginning of 2015, as well as in the light of the dynamic of evolution of Lithuanian-Afghan bilateral relations and political and economic costs of the special mission, we propose recalling the special mission of the Republic of Lithuania in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan as of March 1 of 2015,” said the ministry.
The foreign minister’s spokeswoman Rasa Jakilaitienė told BNS that the special mission cost 1.1 million litas (EUR 318,800) this year. The mission performs development cooperation tasks and contribute to the enhancement of Afghanistan’s civilian and military capacities.
NATO is this year wrapping up its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation in Afghanistan, however, part of the Alliance’s troops including up to 100 Lithuanian soldiers will stay in the country for the training mission.
“Lithuania will continue the international military and civilian commitments it has assumed and will perform development cooperation projects with Afghanistan, however, on a lower scale. Lithuanian soldiers will participate in NATO’s future Resolute Support mission, will support Afghanistan’s national army, officers delegated by Lithuania will work in the EU police mission, projects financed in the framework of the Development Cooperation and Support for Democracy program will be continued,” Jakilaitienė said.
Some other European Union (EU) countries have also reduced their presence in Afghanistan, recalling their special missions from Afghanistan (Estonia), closing diplomatic missions (Belgium and Poland) or diminishing the number of staff in diplomatic missions (Sweden).