Poland plans to add 600 more troops in Afghanistan

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2009 11:00 AM

Poland plans to send 600 more troops to Afghanistan next year, officials said Wednesday.

The new troops would serve in combat, reconnaissance missions and in training Afghan forces, said Defense Minister Bogdan Klich.

The decision, which still requires the government's and president's approval, was in response to calls for help by President Barack Obama's administration, said Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.

Obama on Tuesday asked Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to contribute additional troops to the military effort in Afghanistan as part of a renewed strategy that includes 30,000 additional U.S. forces.

The additional Polish forces, to be deployed in the spring, would bring to 2,600 the number of Polish troops serving in Afghanistan. Another 400 troops would be on standby in Poland.

Sikorski said the Polish decision is meant to "help Afghanistan enter the right path _ the path Iraq is already on."

Poland was a strong U.S. ally in Iraq, where it contributed troops to the invasion and remained there until 2008.

"We still believe that we should give the Afghan government one more additional chance," Sikorski said.