The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force which was responsible for establishing a secure environment in Kosovo[a].
KFOR entered Kosovo on 12 June 1999 under a United Nations mandate, two days after the adoption of UN Security CouncilResolution 1244. At the time of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo was facing a grave humanitarian crisis, with military forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in daily engagement. Ethnic tensions were at their highest and the death toll had reached a historic high. Nearly one million people had fled Kosovo as refugees.
KFOR has gradually transferred responsibilities to Kosovo police and other local authorities. As of November 30, 2012, KFOR consists of 5,565 troops.
NATO’s initial mandate was:
- to deter renewed hostility and threats against Kosovo by Yugoslav and Serb forces;
- to establish and maintain a secure environment in Kosovo, including public safety and civil order;
- to demilitarise the Kosovo Liberation Army;
- to support the international humanitarian effort;
- to coordinate with and support the international civil presence.
Today, KFOR focuses on building a secure environment in which all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic origins, can live in peace and, with international aid, democracy and civil society are gradually gaining strength. KFOR tasks have included:
- assistance with the return or relocation of displaced persons and refugees;
- reconstruction and demining;
- medical assistance;
- security and public order;
- security of ethnic minorities;
- protection of patrimonial sites;
- border security;
- interdiction of cross-border weapons smuggling;
- implementation of a Kosovo-wide weapons, ammunition and explosives amnesty programme;
- weapons destruction;
- support for the establishment of civilian institutions, law and order, the judicial and penal system, the electoral process and other aspects of the political, economic and social life of the province.
The Contact Group countries have said publicly that KFOR will remain in Kosovo to provide the security necessary to support the provisions of a final settlement of Kosovo's status.
KFOR contingents were originally grouped into 4 regionally based multinational brigades. The brigades were responsible for a specific area of operations, but under a single chain of command under the authority of Commander KFOR. In August 2005, the North Atlantic Council decided to restructure KFOR, replacing the four existing multinational brigades with five task forces, to allow for greater flexibility with, for instance, the removal of restrictions on the cross-boundary movement of units based in different sectors of Kosovo. Then in February 2010, the Multinational Task Forces became Multinational Battle Groups and in March 2011, KFOR was restructured again, into just two multinational battlegroups; one based at Camp Bondsteel, and one based at Peć.
At its height, KFOR troops numbered 50,000 and came from 39 different NATO and non-NATO nations. The official KFOR website indicated that in 2008 a total 14,000 soldiers from 34 countries were participating in KFOR.
The following is a list of the total number of troops which have participated in the KFOR mission. Much of the force has been scaled down since 2008, and so current numbers are reflected here as well:
Contributing NATO countries[edit source |edit]
Contributing non-NATO countries[edit source |edit]
- Mike Jackson (United Kingdom, 12 June 1999 - 8 October 1999),
- Klaus Reinhardt (Germany, 9 October 1999 - 18 April 2000),
- Juan Ortuño Such (Spain, 19 April 2000 - 16 October 2000),
- Carlo Cabigiosu (Italy, 17 October 2000 - 6 April 2001),
- Thorstein Skiaker (Norway, 7 April 2001 - 3 October 2001),
- Marcel Valentin (France, 4 October 2001 - 4 October 2002),
- Fabio Mini (Italy, 5 October 2002 - 3 October 2003),
- Holger Kammerhoff (Germany, 4 October 2003 - 31 August 2004),
- Yves de Kermabon (France, 1 September 2004 - 31 August 2005),
- Giuseppe Valotto (Italy, 1 September 2005 - 31 August 2006),
- Roland Kather (Germany, 1 September 2006 - 31 August 2007),
- Xavier de Marnhac (France, 1 September 2007 - 31 August 2008),
- Giuseppe Emilio Gay (Italy, 1 September 2008 - 7 September 2009),
- Markus J. Bentler (Germany, 8 September 2009 - 31 August 2010),
- Erhard Bühler (Germany, 1 September 2010 - 8 September 2011),
- Erhard Drews (Germany, 9 September 2011 - 7 September 2012),
- Volker Halbauer (Germany, 8 September 2012 – Present).
Since the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in 1999, according to some international organizations Kosovo became a major destination country for women and young girls trafficked into forced prostitution, in part as a result of the presence of peacekeeping forces. According to Amnesty International, most women trafficked into Kosovo from abroad are from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.
Since the KFOR entered Kosovo in June 1999, 168 NATO soldiers have been killed, mostly in accidents.
On October 19, 2004, it was confirmed that 115 NATO soldiers had been killed during the operation. After that 50 more NATO soldiers were confirmed to have died, including 42 Slovak soldiers in a military plane crash in Hungary.
The fatalities by country are: 42 Slovak, 26 German, 34 Unidentified, 18 American, 12 Russian, 8 British, 7 Swedish, 6 Italian, 5 French, 5 Polish, 4 Spanish, 3 Ukrainian, 2 Turkish, 1 Austrian, 1 Danish, 1 Dutch, 1 Greek, 1 Hungarian, 1 Norwegian, 1 Romanian, 1 Slovenian, 1 Swiss, 1 United Arab Emirates and 1 Portuguese.[original research?]
Eight UNMIK police officers have been killed in Kosovo since 1999, in addition to the KFOR fatalities. The fatalities by country are: 3 American, 1 Indian, 1 Jordanian, 1 Nigerian, 1 Ghanaian and 1 Ukrainian police officer.[original research?]
After the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence the commander of NATO forces in Kosovo said on 20 February 2008 that he did not plan to step up security in the tense north despite Kosovo Serbs forcing the temporary closure of two boundary crossings between Kosovo and uncontested Serbia.
In July 2011, following the Kosovo Police's attempts to seize two border outposts and consequent clashes that followed, KFOR troops intervened.
In 2013, KFOR was involved in a rescue operation of the last restaurant bears in Kosovo. The bears are now kept at the Bear Sanctuary Prishtina.
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- ^"Kosovo UN troops 'fuel sex trade'". BBC News. May 6, 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- ^"Amnesty International". 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- ^Traynor, Ian (7 May 2004). "Nato force 'feeds Kosovo sex trade'". The Guardian (London). Archived from the original on 2013-03-10. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- ^"British soldier killed in a car accident in Kosovo". Spacewar.com. Archived from the original on 2004-12-24. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
- ^Todesfälle im Auslandseinsatz. Stand: Mai 2013 (Berlin, 06.06.2013.) www.bundeswehr.de
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- ^b92 "KFOR blocks Kosovo police unit in tense neighborhood". NOVEMBER 22, 2012.
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