Wednesday, September 1, 2010

US to Loan Armoured Vehicles to the Latvian Armed Forces

Latvian Ministry of Defence has received a written confirmation that the USA has agreed to loan armoured vehicles to the Latvian Armed Forces to use during Latvia’s participation in ISAF operations in Afghanistan.

Minister of Defence Imants Liegis emphasizes that security of our soldiers in Afghanistan depend greatly on quality armoured vehicles and he also mentioned it during the meeting with International Security Assistance Force Commander, General David Petraeus in Afghanistan August 2010. Minister of Defence requested USA for help to provide the armoured vehicles for Latvian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

Due to decreased defence budget in Latvia the planned procurement of armoured vehicles for NAF was suspended.

Minister of Defence Imants Liegis points out: “I am thankful and very satisfied with this decision, because it will increase the safety of our soldiers in Afghanistan. This support will strengthen USA – Latvian military cooperation and increase our capability to participate effectively in ISAF operations in Afghanistan.”

The USA has agreed to Latvia’s request to loan to the Latvian Armed Forces eight Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and forty High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) to use during Latvia’s operations in Afghanistan. These armoured vehicles will contribute greatly to training of Afghan National Army.

Latvia participates in ISAF operation in Afghanistan since 2003. Currently, more than 175 soldiers are in service in Latvia's contingent in Afghanistan. Most of Latvia’s contingent soldiers serve in Meymaneh, Norwegian led Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Latvian Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) unit is located and operates in Kunar province in cooperation with US forces. It is planned for OMLT unit to complete the mission in Kunar province and to move to Regional Command North in December 2010.

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