Saturday, July 14, 2007

Poles now operational in Afstan

After some delay, a sizeable contingent of Polish troops are now operational:
A roadside bomb injured four Polish troops north of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, two of them seriously, during a patrol near their base, Polish television reported cited by AFP.

The device exploded underneath the third vehicle in the convoy near their base at Bagram, private television channel TVN24 said, quoting Polish military officials.

Poland has around 1,200 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan battling a Taliban-led insurgency.

The Polish contingent is responsible for security in the provinces of Paktika and Ghazni in the southeast of the country, while crack units are also stationed in Kandahar [emphasis added] in the south.
The Polish presence has not, amazingly, been reported in the Canadian media.


Blogger Brett said...

There was a mention of the Poles in Maclean's magazine on how they lost the keys to their humvees. I guess that's why I see their 'special' forces so often in the mess in Kandahar.

7:24 p.m., July 15, 2007  
Blogger Jan S. Skibinski said...

Thank you Mark for your very balanced posts.

brett said...
There was a mention of the Poles in Maclean's magazine on how they lost the keys to their humvees. I guess that's why I see their 'special' forces so often in the mess in Kandahar.
7:24 PM, July 15, 2007

I usually prefix rebukes like this with a introduction "with all due respect". But I do not have any respect for you since you apparently have some obvious agenda to besmirk the Poles. If you have spent a bit more time in researching the issue - rather than repeating some stupid half-truths from two months ago - you would know that Poles have been doing quite well in Ghazni and Paktika for almost two months know: they patrol the provinces; they took part in one major operation run by ANA - in co-operation with Americans and Poles, and they are winning a lot of "hearts and minds" - as proven by hundreds of copies of several articles, which appeared in American press (not Canadian of course) lately.

I am not even going to bother with providing you with damm links - do your own legwork and google for "language barrier", "kite flying on Afghan skies", or "Afghan children going on vacation to Poland". There are tonnes of pictures available on net too.

No one knows what exactly GROM is doing and where exactly they are - the same as no one knows about operations of JTF-2. And obviously you are not the person to know it either - no matter who you are and what you are doing in Kandahar. Unless you are some commander of special operations - which I doubt, judging by you complete lack of knowledge about Polish operations in Ghazni and Paktika.

And the Polish soldiers you see every day in the mess Kandahar? Let me explain you this:
Kandahar is the biggest point of re-loading of military cargo from an air transport to wheel transportation. Any cargo coming from Poland to Afghanistan by air goes through Kandahar. [Anything that comes by sea and land via Pakistan goes directly to FOB Sharana, Paktika].

Obviously there are Poles in Kandahar that handle all of this: logistics, information, planning, etc. The advanced unit of this sort, deployed in March in Kandahar, was known as TMCC (Transport and Movement Central Command, or something like this), now there are guys from NSE - National Supply Element. Judging by some scattered information from here and there - there must be about 20 Polish soldiers of this sort in Kandahar. Comprende?

12:52 p.m., July 27, 2007  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Dear Jan,

Thanks for a very informative comment. Glad to have you reading the site and please comment when you feel like it. I rely on the media mainly so other insights are most welcome.


2:43 p.m., July 27, 2007  
Blogger Brett said...

That's okay no respect due... I guess you missed my attempt at sarcasm here to point out the Canadian media's focus on the negative, even in the usually positive (more than most) Maclean's magazine. Good job on taking the opportunity to chastise me to also inform everyone of Poland's contribution, of which I am actually quite well aware. It's unfortunate that NATO's newcomers are more eager to contribute in the dangerous areas than the older ones ie. France and Germany.

However my question remains... Who exactly are these Polish speaking, non-uniformed, long haired and heavily bearded men who are always at the mess in KAF?

By the way, I have no agenda, if you could see my last name (you won't) it has a similar origin to yours.

6:03 p.m., July 29, 2007  
Blogger Jan S. Skibinski said...

Mainstream press is sometimes quite slow with their news. "Soldiers from the Polish Battle Group officially took command of coalition forces in the western portion of the Paktika province
of Afghanistan June 14, during a Transfer of Authority ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Sharana."

However Poles had been performing some duties before that: some together with Americans, some alone. For example, Polish OMLT, which is part of CJTF-Phoenix, has been operational since mid February - originally in Gardez, now in FOB Zormat, South-West of Gardez. This is only a small company made of a platoon of ANA advisers plus a protection platoon and a medical section. But they are proud of their work and they have seen the real action many a times.

Special unit GROM was sent to Kandahar as an advance unit in February, 2007. There is an article somewhere in Polish about their first actions there - as early as in March. Other than that, I have no idea what they do and where they operate - aside from the fact that they are part of some Combined SOCOM. In other words - they do not choose what they like, they do what they are told by their SOCOM.

I am sure that you are familiar with forum: there are tones of pictures and information about Poles, as well as Canadians, that do not appear in mainstream media.

Keep up your good work,

Well, after reading your response my respect to you is growing. :-)
But I still think that your original comment was misplaced: simpletons like myself would not see any sarcasm in it but rather a cheap Polish joke; I still see this "news" being copied to blogs as the breaking news.

Truth is, Poles lost plenty of items during transport by sea and land through Pakistan. Yes, they lost spare keys, but not to the damn Humvees. Other equipment was also stolen - despite hired security contractors - including a $800,000 flailing machine Bozena destined for their sappers. Thefts from convoys going through Pakistan have been long known and Poles are not the only ones that have been robbed.

But this was not what caused delays in their deployment: the Humvees, lent from Americans were not really ready: they needed major engine overhaul, they needed some anti-mine protection. In spite of this, there were already five casualties but thankfully no one has died so far. And Americans were not ready either with the Transfer of Authority.

And finally, your question about "these Polish speaking, non-uniformed, long haired and heavily bearded men who are always at the mess in KAF?" I have no clue. But as I told Mark - SF GROM is part of some bigger picture and I just cannot imagine that they sit all the time in the mess doing nothing. As far as I know, there are about 80 of them.

Why don't you approach them in the mess and ask them who they are? I am sure they will not eat you alive. I'd be interested in their reply.

7:32 p.m., July 31, 2007  

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