Development Cooperation with Afghanistan

Lithuania and Afghanistan have a long history of bilateral relations which began in early 20th century. Diplomatic relations with Afghanistan started on 9 December 1930 when a friendly relations agreement was signed in Kaunas. After the restoration of diplomatic relations, the special mission of the Republic of Lithuania was set up in Kabul in 2005 for the purposes of carrying out diplomatic representation functions and coordinating civilian tasks of the Ghor Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. The Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan was recalled by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania from 1 March 2015.

The eight-year mission of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor Province led by Lithuania was successfully completed in 2013. This was the first contribution of such magnitude for Lithuania as the member of the international donor community which was successfully carried out at the request and invitation of the Afghanistan Government. Lithuania contributed to the implementation of good governance, rule of law and anti-corruption principles, promoted economic and social development of Ghor Province. A number of Lithuanian public authorities, agricultural and veterinary experts, doctors, architects, engineers, civil aviation specialists, academic community and non-governmental organisations were involved in development cooperation with Afghanistan. It is a vast community of "friends of Afghanistan" whose efforts had led to significant changes in Ghor Province.

Lithuania's contribution to assistance provided to Afghanistan is multidimensional. Since 2006, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs administered the implementation of Lithuania's Development Cooperation and Democracy Support Programme in Afghanistan focusing on the development of Ghor Province. Moreover, Lithuania took part in the largest NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission, joined the EU police mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) in 2007 and delegated national representatives to civil missions. Since 2015, Lithuania has continued to provide political, civil and military assistance to Afghanistan.   

Lithuania financed the installation of 3 small hydropower plants in Ghor Province which ensured that over 500 households had electricity every day, construction of 22 schools, provincial prosecutor's office, renovation of the Court of Appeal of Ghor Province. The Training Centre for Public Servants built together with the USA provided administrative capacity training for over 800 specialists. In addition, the condition of the Minaret of Jam included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger was assessed. Lithuania helped nearly 4,500 children to receive primary education and set up the first public library in Chaghcharan donating more than 3,000 books in the Dari and Pashtun languages. Lithuania contributed to the reconstruction of the provincial hospital; construction of the new centre for children in Chaghcharan accommodating 200 orphans; laying asphalt on the street for the first time, training 260 poor families to grow potatoes, use harvesting and warehousing skills (50% of the participants were women); 400 women attended hygiene and family planning classes; drinking water supply was provided to more than 4,000 families; 40 poultry farms were established. Other development cooperation projects were implemented in cooperation with local communities.

Displays and mobile exhibitions of handicrafts by women from Ghor Province, photographs and information film about Ghor Province in Afghanistan, an auction of handicrafts by women from Ghor Province, drawing campaign for Lithuanian children A Wish to Children in Ghor Province in Afghanistan, Caritas campaign Warm Caps for Afghanistan Children and other public awareness raising events were organised.