Friday, July 13, 2007

Poland evacuates nationals from Iraq, announces deployments may extend into 2008

Above: A Polish special forces soldier fires on a militia position during Operation Jackal in Diwaniyah in June.

Poland evacuates 30 civilians from Iraq

Poland evacuated 30 of its nationals and a 10-month old Iraqi girl with a heart ailment from Iraq on Thursday.

Television footage showed the group of nine families walking down the steps from their airplane and crossing the tarmac after landing at the Fredric Chopin International airport in Warsaw.

"Things are very bad there, worse day by day," Halina Grzeszczuk, one of the evacuated Poles, was quoted as saying by the PAP agency. She had lived in Iraq for four years. "Everybody had hope that it would be better, but it isn't."

The families will live at a Border Patrol base in Swidry, near Warsaw, and be covered by a government aid program for the next month as they readjust to life in Poland, said Pawel Soloch, the deputy interior minister.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

Poland may extend Iraq mission again- def. minister

Polish soldiers may stay longer in Iraq than the government had initially planned, Defence Minister Aleksander Szczyglo said.

Poland had previously said it would not keep its 900 soldiers in Iraq beyond the end of 2007 but Szczyglo said another extension could not be ruled out.

"We are preparing our soldiers for another change," he told reporters at a military airport near Krakow.

Most Poles oppose the presence of their troops in Iraq.

Szczyglo said the decision whether to stay in Iraq will be discussed by the Polish and U.S presidents later in July but would mainly depend on the security level in Iraq and on the level of training of the Iraqi army.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet