It is an unprecedented event in the recent history of the Polish army – Polish soldiers will take control of an airport in a foreign country for the very first time. From April onwards, everything that happens at Kabul International Airport will be governed by 70 Polish soldiers, who are setting out for Afghanistan today. It is believed to be a large-scale operation of immense prestige, never carried out by the Polish Air Force before, according to col. Lesław Dubaj, who will take chief responsibility for the airport in Kabul. 400 soldiers from over 20 countries and 1,200 civilians will be subordinate to him. Polish soldiers will also take full responsibility for all the 350 flights every day at Kabul airport, including NATO supply and VIP flights. These will be the main priorities since every foreign contingent coming to Afghanistan stops at Kabul.
One of the officers organising Polish VIP travel to Kabul notes several major threats for the entire operation: the location of the airport (2km above sea level), the presence of dangerous summits surrounding the airport, and finally, the likelihood of a terrorist attack. The latter seems to be the most serious since the Taliban promised a huge offensive against NATO forces as soon as spring comes. Therefore, as a base for a significant number of NATO troops of central importance in Afghanistan, Kabul International Airport might prove somewhat alluring to terrorists. The airport will be controlled by Polish soldiers until September. There are a number of other key positions, apart from the commander-in-chief, to be appointed to Poles, for example, chief logistics, airborne operations and meteorological section officers. Although all Polish soldiers will formally be part of the Polish contingent, they will be subject to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).