The form, size and share of the burden Afghanistan was the first place outside Europe to which Lithuania sent its troops. It sent them there at the request of the United States back in 2002, when the first squadron of the Special Operations Forces (SOF ) of the Lithuanian Army joined the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom. Until 2004 it was succeeded by another three squadrons. At the start of 2003 the then newly elected president of Lithuania, Rolandas Paksas, on his first trip abroad as a head of state, travelled to Afghanistan to visit the Lithuanian soldiers there. Though the trip was not officially regarded as a state visit, it was highly symbolic, for it was to show Lithuania’s position in relation to NATO (of which it was seeking to become a member) and Lithuania’s role in the alliance, as well as Lithuania’s determination to fight against international terrorism. In other words, it was intended to demonstrate to the world that Lithuania ‘cares and is able’. More displays of this sort came in the spring of 2005, when Lithuania accepted the repeated invitation from NATO to lead one of the new long-term Provincial Reconstruction Teams to be set up in the west of Afghanistan. This mission is the first in which Lithuania took upon itself the role of leader.1