WARSAW — Poland will limit its participation in overseas military missions and concentrate on modernizing its forces at home, President Bronislaw Komorowski announced Thursday.
“We are abandoning without hesitation the missions policy, announced in 2007, which was too eager and ill-advised. The consistent policy of sending Polish soldiers to the other side of the world is over,” declared the president at a military parade during armed forces day in Warsaw.
Komorowski, who is also the supreme chief of the armed forces under the constitution, said the death of 41 Polish soldiers during NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan was a main contributor for the policy change.
Poland maintains 1,600 soldiers in Afghanistan. Like other countries participating in the conflict, it intends to pull out its troops in 2014.
Polish troops also formed one of the largest contingents to take part in the Iraq conflict, reaching 2,500 troops at one point.
Warsaw has been and continues to be part of a number of peacekeeping missions, and observes and gives humanitarian aid for various organizations, such as the UN, NATO, the EU and the OSCE.
Komorowski said Poland would continue to participate in foreign missions “within the limits of its needs and capacity.”
“We want to earmark maximum funds for the modernization of the Polish armed forces, the defense of our territory, and for the defense systems of NATO and our partners in the alliance,” said Komorowski.