"Not since WWII have the Polish army carried out such a long and dangerous mission," said Andrzej Duda. He recalled that 44 Polish soldiers and military personnel have died in Afghanistan, 361 have been wounded and over 850 injured.
"Although we have 10 contingents in various places around the world, there is no task as dangerous as this one," the President added. He noted that although the mission is not of a combat nature, "anything can happen."
"You are showing our allies that we are a responsible NATO member," President Duda told the soldiers.
The President also expressed the conviction that participation in the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq "contributed to the fact that today, and finally, allied troops, mainly US troops, are also in our country." "And when our neighbour is once again implementing his imperial ambitions," the allies are arriving in the eastern flank.
President Duda, the commander-in-chief of the Polish Armed Forces, said that "the modernisation programme of the Polish army will be implemented efficiently". "I hope more efficiently than before."
During the visit, President Duda, assisted by Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, met with Afghanistan’s PM Abdullah Abdullah and General John W. Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support mission.
"We have declared that to the end of the year we will raise the contingent's force by 50 soldiers", said the President.
Following the completion of the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the end of 2014, a new, follow-on, NATO-led mission called Resolute Support was launched on January 1, 2015 to provide further training, advice and assistance to the Afghan security forces and institutions. The force counts some 13,000 soldiers. The Polish contingent numbers some 250 soldiers and army employees. It consists of special forces advisors and air force instructors. The contingent is stationed in several bases, including Bagram, Kabul and Kandahar. (PAP, MK)