- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
Great news. It's only 2 but it will help things out greatly. Thanks to our Polish Brothers! ;)
Canada getting access to Polish helicopters by summer
Last Updated: Friday, June 6, 2008 | 1:55 PM ET Comments14Recommend5
Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will be granted the use of two of Poland's helicopters this summer, a Polish minister says.
Speaking in Kandahar Friday during a visit with Canadian military and civilian officials, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski announced that two Mi-17 helicopters will be available for use by Canadian troops some time this summer.
Poland plans to deploy eight helicopters in total — four transports and four gunships. Polish special forces will also be using the helicopters, but the foreign minister says Canada will have access to the aircraft whenever necessary.
Sikorski said Warsaw is pleased to help Ottawa with the helicopters until it is able to secure the purchase of Chinook helicopters from the Americans.
The Canadian military doesn't have helicopters in southern Afghanistan, with soldiers forced to rely on other countries' equipment to ferry them around.
Canada's continued involvement in the Afghanistan mission was conditional on extra troops and equipment support from NATO.
The demand, based on recommendations in the report prepared by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, for an additional 1,000 soldiers to be committed to the volatile Kandahar region has been met. But the government is still trying to meet extra equipment requirements of new medium-lift helicopters and high-performance unmanned aerial vehicles.
Also during his Afghanistan visit, Sikorski said Warsaw is boosting troop deployment by 400 troops, up from the current 1,200. The move comes as Poland pulls troops out of Iraq.
"It's true that as we draw down in Iraq we are increasing here. And that's as much as we can do this year."
During Sikorski's visit to Kandahar, he also spoke with Canadian military and civilian officials about how to run a provincial reconstruction base, or PRT. Poland plans to take over a U.S. reconstruction base in the eastern Afghanistan province of Ghazni.
Roughly 2,500 Canadian troops are stationed in Afghanistan with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, mostly around Kandahar province in the volatile south.