A tank used by Poland in its 1920 war against the Red Army will be returned from Afghanistan where it was serving as a decoration at the defense ministry.
Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said the French-made FT-17 tank has “historic and sentimental value” for Poland.
On Oct. 20, the Afghan Defence Ministry officially handed over the historic vehicle to Polish Ambassador in Kabul Piotr Łukasiewicz. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Poland said in a press release that the Russians probably seized the tank during the 1920 war, and presented it as a gift to the then Afghan emir in 1923.
Polish diplomats have long tried to recover the historic vehicle. Talking to President Bronisław Komorowski on the sidelines of the September UN General Assembly meeting in New York, President Hamid Karzai agreed to the Polish request to give back the tank.
The return of the vehicle is a testament to the Polish-Afghan friendship and a recognition of Poland’s contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the press release said.
The Polish Embassy in Kabul transported the tank to the Bagram base and handed it over to the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan. It will now be transferred to Poland by the Operational Command and the Armed Forces Support Inspectorate. Renault FT-17 will later be renovated by Stefan Czarniecki Land Forces Training Centre in Poznan. According to President Bronislaw Komorowski’s decision, the tank will be put on public display as a valuable reminder of the 1920 Polish-Soviet war.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to thank all diplomats, military personnel and officials who have helped recover the tank. The return of this valuable object would not be possible but for their efforts and involvement.