"Freedom must be constantly won"
On Monday, Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland, the Superior of the Armed Forces and Mariusz Błaszczak, the Minister of National Defense met in Bagram military base with soldiers of the Polish Military Contingent. They serve in Afghanistan as part of the Resolute Support mission.
- "Freedom can not be owned, freedom must be constantly won" - said Saint John Paul II. And here you are, on Afghan soil, gaining freedom for us, for Poland, for Europe and for the entire western world. You fight the terrorist threat - Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said during the military call with soldiers.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense assured that Polish soldiers in Afghanistan transmit experience and skills. - You share your professionalism. It's a great value. This is a sign of serious attitude towards our allied duties. Because, as emphasized by the President, we are together in one Alliance and we are jointly responsible for security - said the Minister.
He reminded that in Poland, according to the decisions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, soldiers of the United States, Great Britain, Romania and Croatia are stationed, and Polish soldiers serve among others in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak also stressed that our participation in military missions and presence in many places is an expression of the fact that Poland cares about security and values freedom.
The head of the Ministry of National Defense thanked Polish soldiers for everyday service and allies, especially from the US army, for their cooperation and support.
- Your families, your relatives can be proud of you, of your service, of your dedication and commitment. Poland is also proud of these qualities.
Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland, the Superior of the Armed Forces, thanked for the exemplary mission of Polish soldiers and their cooperation with the allies. – Poland, for your perfect and proud tasks’ fullfilment, here in Afghanistan, is immensely grateful to you and your loved ones. By your attitude, you show our allies that we are a responsible NATO member, that we accept to bear the efforts of allied service - said the president.
During the ceremony, state decorations and ministerial medals were handed over. Soldiers of the US Army were also honored with Polish medals. Among the awarded by the Minister of National Defense with the Bronze Medal of the Polish Army is the Major General Leopoldo J. Quintas, deputy commander for operations of the Resolute Support Mission.
The president and the head of the Ministry of National Defense lit candles in front of plaques commemorating Polish and American soldiers who had fallen in execution of tasks in Afghanistan.
President Andrzej Duda and minister Mariusz Błaszczak met on Monday with General J. Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support mission. The conversation concerned the current security situation in the coalition operations area and the future of the mission. The president and the head of the MoD also met with the Prime Minister of Afghanistan.
In the afternoon there was an Easter meeting of the president and the minister with the soldiers of the Polish Military Contingent. It was an opportunity to make Easter wishes.
- You serve Poland. Serve the Homeland, far from home. Your loved ones will spend Easter without you, but they will spend it feeling that you are serving a good cause. In this way you strengthen Poland's position on the international arena and take care of the security of our Homeland. I would like to thank everyone for your service and wish you a peaceful, joyful holiday of the Lord's Resurrection. Easter is the victory of life over death - said minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
As the head of the Defense Ministry noted, the purpose of the visit to Afghanistan was to thank the soldiers for their service to Poland, the service outside Poland. - Today we were talking, together with the President and with the NATO commanders. I want to say that their words were very important and very kind to us. NATO commanders, American commanders, appreciate the involvement and professionalism of the soldiers of the Polish Army - emphasized the head of the Defense Ministry. He announced that the number of Polish soldiers carrying out the mission in Afghanistan will be increased. - This is allied expectation. We want the North Atlantic Alliance to be a real alliance. Our conversation with General Nicholson also concerned the presence of NATO troops, US troops in Poland - added Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defense.
After the meeting with the Prime Minister of Afghanistan and the Minister of Defense of Afghanistan, the head of the Ministry of Defense announced that the main topic of the talks were matters related to the armaments industry. - Here are opportunities for PGZ -Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa company, to include modernization of the equipment. We have such capabilities - said Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
During his visit to Afghanistan, the Minister was accompanied by the secretary of state in the Defense Ministry Tomasz Zdzikot, Operational Commander of the Armed Forces Services, General Sławomir Wojciechowski, and the Field Bishop of the Polish Army, Brigadier General Józef Guzdek.
The 7th rotation of the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan has been fulfilling the mission since December 7, 2017. The main component are soldiers of the 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade from Świętoszów. Colonel Grzegorz Potrzuski is the commander. The task of Polish soldiers is cooperation and advisory support to Afghan institutions and commands responsible for state security.