Poland to speed up Afghan troop withdrawal
January 16, 2014
Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak
Poland will pull its troops out of Afghanistan earlier than originally planned, halving its contingent there to some 500 soldiers by May of this year, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told a news conference on Wednesday.
Siemoniak said the decision had been taken in consultation with Poland's allies.
“In agreement with our allies, we have decided to speed up our withdrawal. All heavy equipment such as armored vehicles and helicopters will also return to Poland by May.
As of the end of last year, there are some 1,600 Polish soldiers in Afghanistan, stationed in Ghazni Province. Poland had previously said it would reduce its troops in Afghanistan to some 1,000 by the end of 2014.
Poland considers ending the military mission in Afghanistan and continuation of the modernization of the Polish army as top priorities of the National Defense Ministry for 2014, Siemioniak also said.
Poland’s armed forces have already repatriated some 40% of their hardware from Afghanistan ahead of the official end of the ISAF international mission at the end of this year.
The Polish troops who remain in Afghanistan will move from the base in Ghazni to the Bagram base outside Kabul, Siemoniak also said.