Lithuania on Thursday completed the evacuation of Afghan citizens who once helped the armed forces of Lithuania and other NATO countries – the last Polish plane with 26 more Afghan interpreters and their family members landed at Vilnius airport.
A total of 178 Afghans were temporarily transferred to Lithuania and housed in the Raseiniai district.
According to the Minister of Defense Arvīds Anušausks, the whole operation lasted ten days and five of them were occupied by planning. After active consultations with several partners, Germany helped bring ten Armed Forces soldiers and one diplomat to Kabul to organize an evacuation.
It has already been reported that the Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday to allocate 600,000 euros for the accommodation of evacuated Afghans. As the Minister explained, this is a provisional amount that will cover their accommodation and subsistence costs until they are granted refugee status.
Evelīna Gudzinskaite, the director of the Migration Department, has indicated that they could receive refugee status within a month.
According to Anušauskas, by receiving the status of a political refugee, Afghans will gain the right to live and work freely in any country of the European Union.
Between 2002 and 2021, about 5,000 Lithuanian soldiers served in Afghanistan, employment contracts with the Lithuanian Armed Forces were concluded with 115 interpreters, and some of them were awarded Lithuanian state awards.