General Martin E.Dempsey and Polish Airforce General Lech Majewski at the military base in Lask. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michalowski
General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the pledge while visiting an air base in Lask, central Poland, where joint exercises began two weeks ago.
“These joint exercises belong to those which we consider as the most important,” Dempsey said, as cited by the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
“Firstly, this base is excellent, providing perfect conditions for training in the air,” he reflected.
“Secondly, these exercises strengthen the historic ties between our nations,” he added.
Six American F-16 planes were brought from the US base in Aviano, Italy, for the training programme. American and Polish air crews, together with special forces soldiers, have been cooperating in exercises involving the Airborne Early Warning and Control radar system (AEW&C).
Further US-Polish military exercises are due to take place in November.
Poles expected in Afghanistan post-2014
Meanwhile, General Dempsey noted that Polish troops would still be needed in Afghanistan after the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ends in 2014.
“The coalition and its partners will continue to help the Afghans,” he said, with the troops purportedly staying as a peace-keeping force.
Dempsey affirmed that in line with NATO forecasts, about 8000 to 12,000 international troops would stay on in the country.
The general commented that “each country that is part of the coalition will make appropriate arrangements,” while suggesting that for the good of US-Polish relations, Poland should send as many troops as possible.
Polish forces have been part of the mission to Afghanistan since 2002, just months after the Taliban regime was compelled to abandon the capital, Kabul, in November 2001, under heavy attack from American forces.
There have been 40 Polish casualties to date, including one medic.
The Polish government has said repeatedly that Polish troops will not be involved in combat operations beyond 2014. (nh)