Viewing cable 06VILNIUS1036
Title: LITHUANIA REMAINS COMMITTED TO SUCCESS IN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS10362006-11-17 13:20:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO2262
RR RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVL #1036/01 3211320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171320Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0791
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 001036 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL MOPS LH AF
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA REMAINS COMMITTED TO SUCCESS IN 
AFGHANISTAN 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
¶1. (SBU) As the Fourth Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction 
Team (PRT) left for Kabul November 14, Lithuania continues to 
demonstrate its commitment to success in Afghanistan. 
Lithuania is set to take on the entire military operating 
expense of its PRT in Ghor Province starting January 2007; is 
considering a fourfold expansion of its civilian assistance 
programs; and may deploy its Special Forces to Afghanistan in 
¶2007.  End Summary. 
 
Lithuania set to pay for PRT 
---------------------------- 
 
¶2. (SBU) Lithuania will take over funding of the Ghor 
Province PRT from the United States beginning January 2007. 
"Afghanistan is priority number one," Defense Undersecretary 
Renatas Norkus told Ambassador November 15.  "You won't get 
another letter from our minister asking for the U.S. to 
extend funding to the PRT."  As a result, Lithuania's 2007 
budget for international operations is slated to reach nearly 
90 million litas (about USD 33 million), accounting for ten 
percent of its total defense spending.  Much of the increase 
will go to U.S. defense contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root, 
which the Lithuanians will fund at least until November 2007 
to provide support to the PRT. 
 
Civilian aid 
------------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) Law enforcement improvement remains Lithuania's 
priority for its civilian assistance projects in Afghanistan. 
 A third of Lithuania's current civilian assistance goes to 
technical support and training of local police, Lithuania's 
Ambassador for Assistance to Afghanistan Ginte Damusis told 
us.  Lithuania has so far supplied the Afghan National Police 
with nearly USD 130,000 in vehicles, radio sets, and 
forensics kits, as well as technical training.  Lithuania has 
police advisors on the ground in Chaghcharan to give advice 
and assistance, and has solicited technical assistance from 
other allies as well, including the U.S. and Latvia.  Just 
last week, a Lithuanian forensics expert held training 
sessions for police investigators in Chaghcharan and donated 
special forensics equipment for investigating explosions. 
 
¶4. (SBU) Lithuania has recruited other nations to support the 
PRT projects as well.  Croatia and Iceland are participating 
in the current deployment, and Iceland may send additional 
police advisors to PRT 5.  Ukraine and Moldova are both 
considering future contributions, probably of medical 
personnel.  (The USG currently has a POLOFF, USAID 
representative, and two police mentors working with the PRT.) 
 
Counter-narcotics 
----------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) Lithuania's PRT has supported the Afghan National 
Police in the destruction of 2.6 tons of opium.  While the 
PRT does not directly participate in counter-narcotics 
operations, they lent political support to and advised the 
local Afghan security services that confiscated the 
narcotics.  ISAF leadership thanked the Lithuanian team for 
their role in urging the prompt and public destruction of the 
drugs and in creating a security environment where the Afghan 
police were able to maintain control over the drugs once 
confiscated. 
 
Hearts and minds projects 
-------------------------- 
 
¶6. (SBU) Lithuania has engaged in "hearts and minds" projects 
aiming to bring visible infrastructure development to Ghor's 
communities and to give technical assistance in ways that 
directly improve the health and welfare of Ghor's residents. 
Lithuania spent nearly USD 100,000 to finance micro-hydro 
power plants in remote villages, combined with nominal 
contributions from local communities.  The PRT's program to 
train medical personnel, with a budget of around USD 13,000, 
sponsors training courses for local obstetricians working in 
remote villages in order to reduce the childbirth death rate. 
 The program also sponsors Afghan physicians to train in 
Lithuanian hospitals in cooperation with Kaunas Medical 
University.  The GOL allocated 200,000 litas (USD 74,000) to 
a Food-For-Work program, implemented by the World Food 
Program, to mitigate the effects of drought in Ghor province. 
 The government has co-financed (with USAID) a 
 
VILNIUS 00001036  002 OF 002 
 
 
community-based education project implemented by Catholic 
Relief Services. 
 
¶7. (SBU) The Ministry of Defense also allocates money for 
goodwill projects.  Lithuanian soldiers recently purchased 
carpet and over 1000 copies of the Koran for mosques in Ghor 
province.  The MOD helped finance the reconstruction of a 
secondary school in Chaghcharan in 2005, and plans to open a 
Kindergarten on the premises in 2006. 
 
¶8. (SBU) Lithuania has sought not only to expand its own 
assistance to the region, but to take an active role in 
attracting other development aid to Ghor.  Lithuania has 
moved its Ambassador to the PRT to Kabul part-time in order 
to engage Afghan national officials as well as Kabul-based 
NGOs on projects for Ghor, leveraging the relatively stable 
security situation and what Lithuania is doing already. 
 
Seeking more cash 
----------------- 
 
¶9. (SBU) The MFA and MOD are seeking a five-fold increase, 
from one million litas to five (370,000 to 1.85 million USD), 
for Lithuania's civilian assistance programs to Afghanistan 
in 2007.  The MFA's request ultimately will rely on the 
Seimas's approval, but Lithuania's Ambassador for Assistance 
to Afghanistan Damusis has actively engaged MPs and pursued a 
press strategy to garner support for the line-item increase. 
In a recent meeting with the Ambassador, PM Kirkilas 
predicted the government would be successful in obtaining 
this increase from the parliament. 
 
Shoring up support in Lithuania - public diplomacy 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶10. (SBU) The Lithuanian MFA has pursued an active public 
relations strategy to increase support for Lithuania's 
missions in Afghanistan, both in government circles and among 
the public.  The government collaborated last year in the 
production of a well-received documentary by a Lithuanian 
television producer entitled "Sand Generals."  The movie 
provided an unembellished picture of the challenges faced by 
Lithuanian troops in Ghor, but portrayed the PRT Mission in a 
very positive light.  Ambassador Damusis gives numerous press 
interviews, appears frequently before parliament, and has 
pressed her case before university audiences and even at a 
rock concert.  Press coverage of the PRT has been mostly 
positive, focusing on several interviews with Ambassador 
Damusis and outlining how Lithuania is helping the Afghan 
people.  A pair of visits between Afghan and Lithuanian 
officials this summer garnered much press coverage and drew 
attention to the humanitarian work that Lithuania was doing. 
One recent article by a local professor questioned both 
Lithuania's decision to go to Afghanistan and its 
effectiveness there.  It was rebutted by several articles 
that supported Lithuania's presence in Afghanistan as being 
in its national interest, and that countered the professor's 
facts.  We continue to emphasize the importance of 
Lithuania,s contribution in our public diplomacy efforts. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶11. (SBU) The GOL continues to demonstrate its commitment to 
success in Afghanistan and perceives this as its most 
important international mission.  The government, press, and 
public at large generally support the mission and see it in 
terms of Lithuania's national interest as a contributor to 
collective security under NATO.  Unlike the situation in some 
allied nations, we do not see any serious signs of flagging 
support for the PRT mission. If anything, the upcoming Riga 
summit should strengthen Lithuanian enthusiasm. 
CLOUD