With the United States slowing the withdrawal of its troops in Afghanistan, Lithuanian soldiers have to remain in the country as well, said Defence Minister Juozas Olekas.
Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan

"Since the US president has announced that it is too early to move into a new phase and give more responsibility (to local forces), this decision will apparently be delayed for another year or two. I think Lithuania has to participate," he told the Ziniu Radijas radio station.

The minister said Lithuanian troops' participation in international missions and operations make it easier for the Allies to make a decision to enhance their presence in Lithuania and to significantly increase their contribution to the defence of the country and deterrence of potential enemies.

Olekas said that Lithuania has received a request from the Allies to slightly increase its presence in Afghanistan.

"As you know, we have sent additional military police starting July to help maintain order there. We have a mandate to continue our financial support next year to help the Afghan armed forces cope better," the minister said.

"It seems that we will have to go to the government, president and parliament next year with proposals to extend our participation in 2018 and 2018," he said.

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