Camp Bondsteel

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Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

Camp Bondsteel is the main base of the United States Army under KFOR command in Kosovo.[a] Located near Ferizaj[1] in the eastern part of Kosovo, the base serves as the NATO headquarters for KFOR's Multinational Brigade East (MNBG-E). The base is named after Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient United States Army Staff Sergeant James L. Bondsteel.

Camp Bondsteel was constructed by the 94th Engineer Construction Battalion, 568 Combat Support Engineer Company together with the private Kellogg, Brown and Root Corporation (KBR) under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. KBR is also the prime contractor for the operation of the camp. The camp is built mainly of wooden, semi permanent SEA (South East Asia) huts and is surrounded by a 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high earthen wall. The camp occupies 955 acres (3.86 km2) of land.[2] To construct the base, two hills were flattened and the valley between them was filled. In August 1999, 52 helipads were constructed on the facility's south perimeter to handle helicopter aviation.

Facilities[edit]

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visiting Camp Bondsteel, May 2009

Camp Bondsteel has many facilities on base for use by the soldiers and civilian employees who live and work there, and can hold up to 7,000 soldiers which makes it the largest US base in the Balkans. The post exchange (PX) is the largest military exchange in south eastern Europe and contains all the necessities and more that someone may need while in Kosovo, including TVs, phones, books, DVDs, CDs, small furniture, video games, computers, clothes, shoes, food, and more, all in its two story building.[2] The base also has, arguably, the best hospital in Kosovo; two gyms; two recreation buildings that have phones, computers with internet connection, pool tables, video games and more; one chapel with various religious services and other activities; one large dining facility; a fire station; a military police station; two cappuccino bars, a Burger King, Taco Bell, and an Anthony's Pizza pizzeria; one barber's shop; one laundry facilities employing local nationals who do the laundry for those living on base; one press shop; a sewing shop; various local vendors who sell Kosovo souvenirs and products; softball and football fields; and more.[2]

Controversies[edit]

"Big Duke" (Mt. Ljuboten) looming over Camp Bondsteel

The United States Army has been criticised for using the base as a detention facility, and for the conditions faced by the detainees there.[3] In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described the camp as a "smaller version of Guantanamo" following a visit. The Swiss newspaper Weltwoche reported, "A German report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, produced last year on behalf of the German army... is particularly critical of the role of the US, which had obstructed European investigations and which had been opened up to political extortion by the existence of a secret CIA detention center on the grounds of Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo...”[4] In response, the US Army stated that there were no secret detention facilities in the Camp.

Notes and references[edit]

Notes:

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The latter declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Kosovo's independence has been recognised by 107 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References:

  1. ^ Philips, John (2004). Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans. I.B.Tauris. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-86064-841-0. 
  2. ^ a b c "Camp Bondsteel". Global Security. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  3. ^ "‘Smaller Version of Guantanamo" in Kosovo". 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  mirror
  4. ^ Peter Schwarz (2008-12-01). "Kosovo’s dirty secret: the background to Germany’s Secret Service affair". Retrieved 2009-01-31. "The German report is particular critical of the role of the US, which had obstructed European investigations and which had been opened up to political extortion by the existence of secret CIA detention centres in the grounds of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo,” writes Weltwoche. “Doubts are growing about the American methods and also as a result of the ‘serious’ description of a high-ranking German UN police officer that the main task of UNMIK’s second in command, American Steve Schook, is ‘to get drunk with Ramush Haradinaj once a week’."  mirror

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°22′N 21°15′E / 42.367°N 21.250°E / 42.367; 21.250