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Polish U-turn on Iraq troops

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Polish U-turn on Iraq troops

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Despite growing opposition at home, Poland has decided to keep its troops in Iraq until the end of next year. The previous government had planned to pull out its soldiers early in 2006 after gradually reducing numbers this year. Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, who visited Baghdad last week, asked the president to permit troops to remain for several more months. He described it as a “very difficult decision” but said Poland had taken into account Iraq’s requests it remain. The military force – currently around 1,450 – will be reduced to around 900 from March. Its remit will also shift slightly towards the training of Iraqi forces.