Poland's evacuation from Afghanistan ends successfully, says FM

Albert Zawada/PAP

Poland stayed in Afghanistan until the very end of its mission there and conducted a successful evacuation from Kabul without any human casualties, the foreign minister told a Wednesday press conference.

Zbigniew Rau also said the overseas mission that lasted almost 20 years had shown that "foreign policy, the national security policy of the Republic of Poland, is an important element of the Polish national interest and as such should - and can be - part of the common concern of various political parties and groups."

He went on to say the decision to participate in the mission in Afghanistan had two causes - establishing Poland as a faithful and valuable NATO ally and introducing this part of Europe to the area of security and political stability.

He described Poland's Afghanistan mission as "an unquestioned success" thanks mostly to the country's armed forces, of whom he said it was "impossible not to once again pay homage and express the highest recognition to those who paid the highest price for it, the price of their lives."

The foreign minister also thanked all those engaged in the evacuation effort, including diplomats from many foreign posts, including in Tashkent, Bucharest and New Delhi.

Rau said Poland had managed to conduct a total of 52 flights in both directions and transport 1,232 people out of Afghanistan, in an effort that sometimes involved the approval of as many as nine states per flight.