National Defence Minister Bogdan Klich has denied that Poland will increase its contingent in Afghanistan. His statement comes after Gazeta Wyborcza reported last week that, according to a military source, Poland will send 600 more troops to the Afghani province of Ghazni this spring.
Klich’s statement is all the more confusing in light of comments made by the new U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Lee A. Feinstein on Saturday. Speaking on TVN24, Feinstein said, “The president and Prime Minister declared that not only would they be keeping Polish soldiers in Afghanistan, but they would also enlarge the contingent. This is something for which we are very grateful.”
Klich denied such claims speaking at a press conference this morning. He said, “The ambassador committed a blunder, since neither the prime minister, nor the minister of foreign affairs, nor the minister of national defence made any declarations to the American side about an increase in the contingent. But, please remember that these are the ambassador’s first days at a new post.”
Klich maintained that no plans or decisions have been made regarding Poland’s contingent in Afghanistan. Furthermore, he said he did not contact the prime minister on this matter. He did say, however, that Poland will be sending 200 extra troops to Afghanistan as a strategic reserve, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on a review of Poland’s role in Afghanistan, which will be submitted to Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Meanwhile, President Lech Kaczyński’s office also did not confirm reports of the troop increase, saying that it received no concrete plans for such an increase from the Ministry of Defence, and that it is too early to make such decisions.