Just 12 per cent of Poles favor troops in Iraq

The new Polish government has pledged to withdraw the troops by next year. With this type of poll they will probably be withdrawn sooner rather than later. The Law and Justice party which lost the recent election was probably not helped by its close connections with Bush.

Only 12 percent of Poles favor troops in Iraq
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WARSAW: Almost four-fifths of Poles want their country's troops out of Iraq, and a similar proportion hope Polish forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan, according to a survey published Tuesday. The poll conducted by the ARC institute for the Polska newspaper found that 85 percent of respondents opposed Poland's deployment of 900 troops in Iraq, while only 12.1 percent were in favor of sticking with the US-led coalition. Poland has been one of Washington's most loyal allies over Iraq. Around 2,600 Polish troops took part in the 2003 invasion, a move which sparked a bitter verbal tussle with anti-war fellow members of the EU, notably France. US-Polish ties strengthened after the election in 2005 of Poland's previous conservative government of the Law and Justice party. But Law and Justice lost office in a snap election last month to the liberal Civic Platform, which has pledged to withdraw the Polish contingent from Iraq next year. A total of 22 Polish soldiers have been killed in Iraq since 2003. The poll also found that 84.3 percent of respondents opposed the Polish deployment in Afghanistan, where 1,200 troops are serving with NATO's 36,000-strong International Security Assistance Force which is battling a Taliban-led insurgency. Only 13.2 percent of respondents were in favor of the mission. Polish troops have been in Afghanistan since March 2002, and suffered their first fatality this year. The Afghanistan mission has also made headlines after Polish military prosecutors on November 14 charged six soldiers with murdering Afghan civilians during an incident in August. The poll of 802 people was carried out on November 16-18. - AFP


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