One of the most important “Polish friends” who will fly from Afghanistan to Poland is Special Forces General Muhammad Haidar Nikpai – tvn24.pl found out. Two sons are waiting for him, who first graduated from aviation secondary school in Dęblin in Poland, and will soon begin their third year of studies. – The last days were a nightmare, we waited for information that our father and our loved ones would be safe, we expected the worst at any moment – say young Afghans who are starting to apply for Polish citizenship.
Until Thursday, it was not certain whether the Afghan Special Forces general had managed to reach the Kabul airport.
– The first plane from Poland landed at night when (in Afghanistan – ed.) There is a strict curfew. We were also aware that the father was one of the targets of the Taliban, like any high-ranking soldier, Haidar’s sons tell the journalist tvn24.pl.
They themselves came to Poland six years ago. Then they started their education at the Aviation High School in Dęblin. – We flew gliders, jumped with a parachute. Our colleagues received us very well, although the Polish language was not easy – they say.
They do not want to talk about how they came to Poland. However, they emphasize that they feel great here. Our sources in the army are also reluctant to talk about details.
– Their father was a good friend, he helped our contingent many times. We could count on him even in such extreme situations as the attack on the base in Ghazni – says the soldier, asking for anonymity.
– It was a comprehensive attack. The rebels tried to break into the base by all possible means – reported Commander Janusz Walczak, then responsible for communication at the Ministry of National Defense.
The attack was repulsed, but ten Polish soldiers were wounded – one of them died after a few days. One American also died of the wounds. However, the Afghans fighting on the side of Western troops suffered the most severe losses.
– I do not want to talk about the details, but both the policemen and the soldiers of Afghan special forces helped us a lot. Thanks to the then Colonel Haidar – say our interlocutors.
The proof of good relations was also the awarding of an honorary distinction to Muhammad Haidar, called the “general’s certificate”, which in September 2013 was presented to him by the then commander of the Polish Task Force, General Marek Sokołowski.
– Later, Haidar visited Poland. It was then that the operational commander of the armed forces, Marek Tomaszycki, promised to help two of his sons, say our interlocutors associated with the army.
It was as a result of this “gentlemen’s agreement” that two sons appeared in Poland. They started studying at the aviation high school in Dęblin.
– But we couldn’t fly on airplanes – what interested us the most, because we do not have Polish citizenship. We finished high school, now we will start the third year of studies in the field of national security – they say.
During all these years, they lived in Poland on the basis of the so-called Geneva travel document. It is issued every two years to those foreigners who have been granted refugee status. In recent months, they have been waiting for another one to be released. He managed to get it at the Office for Foreigners, as witnessed by the tvn24.pl reporter.
– This was the only thing we needed to apply for citizenship. School helps us a lot, colleagues – they say.
– We were over a dozen years old when we appeared in Poland. We haven’t been to Afghanistan since then. We have contact with the family only by phone – they say.
General of special forces
When the previous government in Afghanistan collapsed a few days ago and the army surrendered to the Taliban almost without a fight, the life of General Muhammad Haidar hung in the balance. He was already a three-star general, commanding a large part of the special forces – the equivalent of our GROM and Commando units from Lubliniec.
At the same time, retired soldiers and officers of the Military Counterintelligence Service began to try to ensure his safe arrival in Poland.
– In the Military Counterintelligence Service and the Military Intelligence Service they knew nothing, the institutional memory was lost over the years. Because many young 40-year-old officers have long retired – say our interlocutors.
Another of our sources adds: – It turned out that we are not ready for anything. Everything is improvisation. Just like caring for sons. Indeed, the Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak helped them to start their studies, but everything requires treatments, phone calls, because the state authorities themselves have already forgotten – he says. The general’s sons are also supported by retired soldiers and officers.
The last 72 hours had been a real nightmare for the general’s sons. They received conflicting information as to whether their father had managed to get to the airport.
– I received information that only one man from the general’s family got to the airport, the rest are still wandering outside – this information was received by both sons on Wednesday.
One of the real problems that could not be overcome was the lack of Polish soldiers on the spot. When the Americans were bringing order to the airport itself – so that the thousands of fleeing Afghans who had gathered there would not block the runways – more people were not allowed to enter them.
– It was decided that only those on the lists would enter. There was no one from us to provide a list of our friends – says tvn24.pl an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Only at night, from Wednesday to Thursday, information was received that the general and his family got to the airport and everyone has an evacuation guaranteed.
– We are waiting for our father and relatives whom we have not seen in six years. Soon, this is the most important thing, say General Haidar’s sons.
Main photo source: US Air Force / Senior Airman Taylor Crul / Forum