288: NATO KFOR UCK Serbia 1999-2001

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NATO KFOR UCK Serbia 1999-2001

Kosovo Force

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force responsible for establishing a secure environment in Kosovo.

KFOR entered Kosovo on June 12, 1999 under a United Nations mandate, two days after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. At the time of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo was facing a grave humanitarian crisis, with military and paramilitary 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.

After the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence the commander of NATO forces in Kosovo said on February 20, 2008 that he did not plan to step up security in the tense north despite violent attacks by Kosovo Serbs which forced the temporary closure of two boundary crossings between Kosovo and Serbia.

As of January 2010, KFOR consists of fewer than 10,000 troops.

Kosovo Force Commander (COM KFOR), Major General Erhard Bühler, on October 2010 made an announcement about KFOR restructuring. This restructuring, known as “GATE 2”, is planned for Spring 2011 and will see a KFOR force with a strength of 5,000 plus, consisting of two Multinational Battle Groups.

bjectives

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.

Structure

As of 1 February 2010, the Multinational Task Forces changed the structure and become Multinational Battle Groups.

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.

Multinational Battle Group North (MNBG-N):

MNTF-N is deployed in the northern region of Kosovo, headquartered in Novo Selo and is commanded by Colonel Barrera, (French Army).
Contributing nations: Belgium, Denmark, France (Lead nation), Greece, Estonia, Luxembourg, Morocco.

  • Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG-E):

MNTF-E is deployed in the eastern region of Kosovo, headquartered near Uroševac and is commanded by Colonel Francisco J. Neuman, (U.S. Army). The majority of U.S. Soldiers in MNTF-E come from National Guard units, with a different state taking over each rotation of approximately one year.

Camp Bondsteel serves as the headquarters for Multinational Task Force East (MNTF-E). Camp Monteith had been previously used by the KFOR, but is now the training camp for the Kosovo Security Force (formally the Kosovo Protection Corps).

Contributing nations: Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, United States (Lead nation). The official site is http://www.nato.int/KFOR/

  • Multinational Battle Group South (MNBG-S):

MNTF-S is deployed in the southern region of Kosovo, headquartered in Prizren. This Task Force has been established on May 15, 2006 and is commanded by Brigadier General Stephan Thomas (German Army).
Contributing nations: Austria, Germany (Lead Nation), Switzerland, Turkey, The Netherlands.

  • Multinational Battle Group West (MNBG-W):

MNTF-W is deployed in the region of Metohija, headquartered in Peć and is commanded by Colonel Carlo Emiliani (Italian Army).
Contributing nations: Italy (lead nation), Slovenia, Hungary, Romania.

  • Multinational Battle Group Center (MNBG-C) (NO LONGER OPERATIONAL):

MNTF-C was deployed in the region of Drenica, headquartered in Lipljan.
Contributing nations: Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, Sweden.

  • Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU):

MSU is deployed in Pristina and is commanoded by Colonel Eduardo Russo, (Italian Carabinieri).
The Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU) is a police force with military status, with an overall police capability.
Contributing nations: Italy.

  • KFOR Tactical Reserve Manoeuvre Battalion (KTM):

KFOR Tactical Reserve Manoeuvre Battalion (KTM) is a Portuguese Battalion level unit, operating as part of KFOR CJSOR since 2005. Its most relevant characteristics are the absence of caveats, capability to deploy by air or ground Kosovo-wide at reduced NTM, CRC trained and self-sustainable for 72 hours, giving COMKFOR a wide variety of possibilities and flexibility of employment.
KTM is under the direct control of COMKFOR and is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Nuno Maria Vasconcelos Albergaria Pinheiro Moreira (Portuguese Army)

Starting in March 2011, KFOR will be restructured again, into two multinational battlegroups; one based at Camp Bondsteel, and one based at Peć.

Contributing nations

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:

KFOR Commanders

  1. Mike JacksonUnited Kingdom, June 12, 1999 – October 8, 1999),
  2. Klaus ReinhardtGermany, October 8, 1999 – April 18, 2000),
  3. Juan Ortuño SuchSpain, April 18, 2000 – October 16, 2000),
  4. Carlo CabigiosuItaly, October 16, 2000 – April 6, 2001),
  5. Thorstein SkiakerNorway, April 6, 2001 – October 3, 2001),
  6. Marcel ValentinFrance, October 3, 2001 – October 4, 2002),
  7. Fabio MiniItaly, October 4, 2002 – October 3, 2003),
  8. Holger KammerhoffGermany, October 3, 2003 – September 1, 2004),
  9. Yves de KermabonFrance, September 1, 2004 – September 1, 2005),
  10. Giuseppe ValottoItaly, September 1, 2005 – September 1, 2006),
  11. Roland KatherGermany, September 1, 2006 – August 31, 2007),
  12. Xavier Bout de MarnhacFrance, August 31, 2007 – August 29, 2008),
  13. Giuseppe Emilio GayItaly, August 29, 2008 – September 8, 2009),
  14. Markus BentlerGermany, September 8, 2009 – August 31, 2010),
  15. Erhard BühlerGermany, September 1, 2010 – Present)

Kosovo, peacekeeping and human trafficking

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.

Magazines

  • The KFOR Chronicle is published monthly, and is cleared for public dissemination. It is also published on the Internet for an international audience.
  • The Guardian East is a monthly publication created by the US led Multi-National Task Force – East.

KFOR fatalities

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, 34 Unidentified, 18 American, 13 German, 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 Norwegian, 1 Romanian, 1 Slovenian, 1 Swiss and 1 United Arab Emirates soldier.

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.


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