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Plane carrying Polish and Afghan evacuees lands in Poland

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

An aircraft carrying 80 Poles and their Afghan colleagues evacuated from Kabul landed in Warsaw late on Wednesday night.

The Boeing Dreamliner 787 had left Navoi International Airport in Uzbekistan at 20.49 local time (17.49 Polish time) and landed in Warsaw on Wednesday night.

Wojciech Skurkiewicz, a deputy defence minister, said the 80 people on board had been evacuated on two flights from Kabul in what he described as a “dangerous operation”.

Another aircraft carrying refugees is expected to arrive in Warsaw on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile President Andrzej Duda has signed an order authorising the use of a Polish military contingent in Afghanistan. It will consist of up to 100 personnel from August 18 to September 16, 2021.

“President Andrzej Duda decided today in agreement with the government to send 100 Polish soldiers to Afghanistan to secure the evacuation of Poles and other nationals from that country,” Pawel Soloch, the head of the National Security Bureau (BBN), told PAP.

The BBN head said that the contingent would not be involved in any combat operations. “Its only task is to cooperate with forces of other Nato countries during the evacuation operation from the Kabul airport,” Soloch added.

“Despite the fact that the Nato operations in Afghanistan have ended, we are responsible for the security of Poles staying there as well as citizens of allied countries and Afghan nationals cooperating with us,” Soloch stated.

Following the withdrawal of US forces, control over Afghanistan has been taken over by the Taliban.

The last Polish troops returned home from Afghanistan at the end of June. Their arrival brought to an end a 20-year military commitment by Poland to the country, which involved some 33,000 soldiers. 

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