Viewing cable 09VILNIUS699
Title: LITHUANIA'S GO-FORWARD STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09VILNIUS6992009-12-21 14:59:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO2061
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHVL #0699/01 3551459
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211459Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4004
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL IMMEDIATE 0124
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 0053
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0079
RHMFISS/USCENTCOM POLITICAL ADVISOR MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RUDKSR/EUCOM PLANS AND ANALYSIS STAFF STUTTGART GE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 1629
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 VILNIUS 000699 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR S/SRAP AMBASSADOR RICHARD HOLBROOKE AND PDAS JONES 
STATE FOR EUR/NB, EUR/RPM AND SCA/A HENRY ENSHER 
EMBASSY KABUL FOR AMBASSADOR WAYNE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/21/2019 
TAGS: AF MAPP MOPS NATO PREL EAID LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIA'S GO-FORWARD STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 695 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 652 
     ¶C. VILNIUS 635 
     ¶D. VILNIUS 618 
     ¶E. VILNIUS 594 
     ¶F. KABUL 3845 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Anne E. Derse for reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 
 
¶1.  (C) Summary.  Members of the U.S. delegation to the 
December 8-9 GOL-hosted RC-West conference met bilaterally 
with MFA and MOD representatives on December 9 to discuss 
RC-West conference conclusions and future strategy for 
Afghanistan. The U.S. delegation underscored that we should 
work together to forward the Kabul - Herat road construction 
project and to conclude the MOU on support for USG 
representatives at the Ghor PRT.  GOL officials also 
delivered a clear message that they are committed to the 
mission in Afghanistan; however the GOL needs USG assistance 
with its development program and its resource planning to 
maintain forward momentum.  Senior MFA representatives 
pledged to make Afghanistan a focus of Lithuania's OSCE 
chairmanship in 2011.  MOD officials asked for help to fill 
the staffing gap at the Ghor PRT after Croatian troops leave 
in mid-2010 and for USG support to centralize terms of 
engagement with Afghanistan's National Directorate of 
Security offices in RC-South.  The GOL plans to further 
enhance the civilian component of its mission.  The GOL is 
grateful for U.S. civilian engagement at the Ghor PRT, and 
seeks additional civilian resources to expand capacity 
building initiatives in the province.  Lithuania is 
organizing a Ghor Donors Conference in spring 2010 which it 
will use to promote priority development projects such as 
constructing a road from Herat to Kabul. End summary. 
 
 
¶2.  (C) Director of the Office of Afghanistan Affairs Henry 
Ensher, Senior Civilian Representative in RC-West Brad 
Hanson, USAID Field Officer Hilda Grigorian and Emboffs met 
with MOD's Political Director Andrius Krivas, MFA's Political 
Director Eitvydas Bajarunas, Lithuania's Ambassador to 
Afghanistan Dainius Junevicius and MFA's Chief Counselor 
Valdemaras Sarapinas (who was recently appointed as MFA lead 
on Afghanistan issues) on December 9 to discuss RC-West 
conference conclusions and strategy for Afghanistan. 
Bajarunas said the GOL was "delighted" with the RC-West 
conference and the opportunity to discuss the unique 
situation in Western Afghanistan with international 
participants (REFTEL A).  He elaborated that the GOL is 
already thinking about ways to reshuffle its Afghanistan 
engagements based on ideas that were discussed during the 
conference. 
 
¶3.  (C) Bajarunas explained that when the GOL started working 
in Ghor it was focused on military engagement.  It is now 
clear that the GOL should develop the civilian side of its 
engagement as well.  Bajarunas said that both he and Krivas 
would approach their respective Ministers with this idea. 
Henry Ensher replied that the U.S. is also working to expand 
civilian engagement.  He thanked the GOL for organizing the 
conference and said that the U.S. is grateful and admiring of 
Lithuania's exceptional work in Afghanistan.  Ensher 
underscored that we understand the political and economic 
situation in Lithuania which makes its contribution all the 
more impressive.  Regarding the conference Ensher said that 
he was interested in the proposal to begin transition of 
authority in the more stable North and West provinces of 
Afghanistan.  He encouraged the GOL to work closely with the 
Afghan people on capacity building initiatives. 
 
------------------------ 
OSCE Role in Afghanistan 
------------------------ 
 
¶4.  (C) Bajarunas said the GOL will engage Central Asian 
colleagues on Afghanistan when it chairs the OSCE in 2011. 
He said that Afghanistan is a priority for the OSCE even 
though Russia has blocked OSCE activity in Afghanistan.  The 
OSCE is instead working in coordination with Tajikistan and 
Uzbekistan on border issues such as lost passports and drug 
 
VILNIUS 00000699  002 OF 003 
 
 
smuggling.  Bajarunas said that Kazakhstan is planning to 
pledge USD 50M for education projects in Afghanistan.  The 
GOL is trying to get a piece of this funding for agricultural 
training in Ghor province. 
 
----------------------------- 
GOL Challenges in Afghanistan 
----------------------------- 
 
¶5.  (C) Krivas thanked the USG for sending a strong and 
representative delegation to RC-West.  He said the GOL 
appreciates USAID's presence in Chaghcharan and its support 
of local projects especially the Chaghcharan airport 
renovation.  He also recognized that the U.S. military is 
very helpful in transporting Lithuanian contingents to and 
from Afghanistan.  Krivas asked for help to find a 
replacement for the 35 Croatian patrol troops who will be 
leaving the Ghor PRT in 2010.  He recalled that Ambassador 
Vershbow had offered Pentagon support to find a way to fill 
the gap and emphasized that our diplomatic and political - 
military assistance would be appreciated.  Krivas added that 
the GOL plans to deploy additional troops to Ghor but will 
not be able to fill all 35 positions. 
 
¶6.  (C) Krivas also confided that the GOL is experiencing 
"resource pressure" in RC-South where it deploys Special 
Operations Forces.  Krivas explained that some countries are 
signing MOUs with the National Directorate of Security (NDS) 
offices to provide uniforms, equipment and other capabilities 
as part of partnering initiatives.  The GOL is at a 
disadvantage because it does not have funding to equip the 
NDS.  The MOD wants a more unified approach on how to engage 
the Afghan NDS such as an agreement between ISAF and the 
GIRoA or an agreement between ISAF and NDS itself to manage 
expectations for partnering initiatives.  MOD's Tomas Urbonas 
emphasized that the issue is not about equipment procurement 
but about having a centralized approach to NDS engagement. 
Ensher suggested that it would make sense to raise this issue 
with ISAF HQ. 
 
----------------------- 
Plans for Ghor Province 
----------------------- 
 
¶7.  (C) Krivas acknowledged that training of Afghan National 
Security Forces is a high priority.  Since the Afghan 
National Army is not present in Ghor on a permanent basis, he 
said that a PMLT will likely be established before an OMLT. 
Krivas elaborated that the GOL is working with the PA 
National Guard on a PMLT initiative which they hope will bear 
fruit by next October.  Sarapinas added that strengthening 
the civilian component of their mission in Ghor is important. 
 He said that President Obama's announcement is "full of good 
news" especially with regards to a surge of civilian 
advisors.  Sarapinas expressed gratitude for the USDA 
representative who will be joining the Ghor PRT in January 
and asked if the U.S. could help to place additional civilian 
experts in Ghor.  He said that the GOL also needs help to 
attract sponsors to Ghor development projects.  Sarapinas 
noted that Japan's contributions to Ghor are a success story. 
 He asked if the USG could send a political message to 
potential sponsors Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to encourage 
them to invest in Ghor province. 
 
¶8.  (C) Ambassador Junevicius said the GOL plans to hold a 
Ghor Donors Conference in 2010 in Kabul with a possible side 
trip to Chaghcharan.  The GOL is working with the local 
government to develop the idea.  Bajarunas said the EC 
supports the conference concept and encouraged the GOL to 
work closely with the UNAMA.  He said that the GOL would 
appreciate USG guidance with the planning process.  Grigorian 
suggested that the GOL needs to work closely with the local 
government in Ghor to revamp the Provincial Development Plan 
and make it into a working document that can be shared at the 
conference. 
 
¶9.  (C) Regarding specific development projects, Hanson said 
that constructing a road from Herat to Kabul is a top 
priority.  He said that USAID is actively seeking new funding 
for its budget to build a portion of the road from Herat to 
 
VILNIUS 00000699  003 OF 003 
 
 
Chaghcharan via the strategic Salma dam in Herat province. 
We encouraged the GOL to work together with the U.S. Embassy 
in Kabul and international sponsors to coordinate plans for 
the road construction.  Hanson also said that he and Embassy 
Kabul are looking forward on GOL feedback on the MOU for the 
provision of life, security and mobility support at 
Lithuanian-operated facilities in Afghanistan. 
 
-------------------------- 
A Note on Public Relations 
-------------------------- 
 
¶10.  (U) Ensher shared that he would be speaking to the local 
press about the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and asked if 
there were any specific messages that the GOL is trying to 
promote.  Bajarunas and Krivas replied that 1) In response to 
those who oppose the GOL's Afghan engagement, NATO's 
collective investment in Lithuania's security is deeper than 
Lithuania's individual contribution to the NATO mission.  For 
example, the GOL would not be able to fund air space defense 
if it were acting alone.  2) In response to those who believe 
that Afghanistan has nothing to do with Lithuania, the GOL is 
defending its own security in Afghanistan.  3) In response to 
those who think this war is no different from the USSR's 
invasion of Afghanistan, the USSR was fighting against the 
Afghan people and NATO is fighting for them. 
 
-------------------------- 
Comment and Action Request 
-------------------------- 
 
¶11.  (C) Lithuania remains a strong and committed partner in 
Afghanistan despite daunting financial and human resource 
constraints.  It is in our interest to help the GOL succeed 
in its mission in Afghanistan, especially running the Ghor 
PRT, as Lithuania's strategic goals for Afghanistan are 
closely aligned with our own.  Per Henry Ensher's suggestion 
we will encourage the GOL to approach ISAF HQ regarding their 
concerns about decentralized terms of engagement with 
Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security offices in 
RC-South. We request Department of State and Department of 
Defense engagement to help the GOL to find replacement troops 
for the 35 Croatian soldiers who are leaving the Ghor PRT in 
2010, to support the Ghor Donors conference in late spring 
2010, to send a political message to Kazakhstan and 
Azerbaijan supporting investment in Ghor and to see if any 
additional civilian resources could be assigned to the Ghor 
PRT.  End comment. 
DERSE