Defence Secretary Jerzy Szmajdzinski announced the contingent would be cut by a third to 1,700 – 700 troops will remain on standby in Poland. The withdrawal is due to begin after Iraq’s parliamentary election on January 30. Poland heads an 8,000-strong multi-national force which is being relocated to southern Iraq from the historic city of Babylon.
Under pressure from public opposition to the deployment, Warsaw has always said it “would not remain in Iraq an hour longer than is sensible”. Seventeen Poles have died in Iraq. Hungary has also announced it is withdrawing its troops and Ukraine could soon follow suit.