Thursday, August 27, 2009

Defence ministry accused of fatal incompetence

A top soldier has accused the Ministry of Defence of being partly responsible for the death of Captain Ambrozinski in Afghanistan last week.

Chief of Poland’s land forces, General Waldemar Skrzypczak has accused Ministry of Defence officials of being responsible for delays and wrong decisions in respect of necessary equipment for Polish troops in Afghanistan, which may have cost the life of Captain Daniel Ambrozinski, killed by Taliban last week.

In a recent interview in a national daily, Skrzypczak said that if the army had unmanned aerial vehicles and adequately armed helicopters, Captain Ambrozinski may have not been ambushed by a Taliban sniper.. The contingent has been struggling to acquire this equipment for two years now, he said, but the requests of commanders have been falling on deaf ears – everything is inundated with red tape, he said.

Defence Minister Bogdan Klich responded that the General had not notified him personally of the allegations.

Speaking on Polish Radio this morning, head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, Grzegorz Napieralski, said that his sympathies lie with General Skrzypczak, who is an “excellent soldier”, and that something must be very wrong for his “emotions to get better of him”. He also said he knew of delayed tenders, money shortages and further cuts being planned for next year at the MOD, which could effect the efficiency of troops.

The funeral of Captain Ambrozinski takes place today. He was killed in eastern Afghanistan in an attack that also four others injured.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Klich will today present the government with a list of purchases for Polish troops in Afghanistan.

Following his surprise visit to the Ghazi base in Afghanistan at the weekend, Prime Minister Donald Tusk concluded that more equipment was needed to help troops perform ever more difficult tasks. He also announced changes in procedures which will allow the government to buy equipment, such as helicopters, immediately. The list of necessities also includes unmanned surveillance aircraft, vehicles and personal equipment for troops.