Kosovo Force

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Kosovo Force
Insignia NATO Army KFOR.svg
The emblem of the KFOR, which contains Latin and Cyrillic script.
Founded11 June 1999; 20 years ago (1999-06-11)
Size3,500 personnel
Part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization
EngagementsYugoslav Wars
MG Lorenzo D'Addario, EI
Flag (2008–09)
Flag of the Kosovo Force (2008–2009).gif

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) is a NATO-led international peacekeeping force which is responsible for establishing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all in Kosovo. Its operations are being gradually reduced as Kosovo's Security Force, established in 2009, becomes self sufficient.[1]

The KFOR entered Kosovo on 11 June 1999,[2] two days after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. At the time, Kosovo was facing a grave humanitarian crisis, with military forces from Yugoslavia in action against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in daily engagements. Nearly one million people had fled Kosovo as refugees by that time, and many did not permanently return.[1]

The KFOR has gradually transferred responsibilities to the Kosovo Police and other local authorities. As of February 2019, 28 states contribute to the KFOR, with a combined strength of more than 3,500 military and civilian personnel.[3]


Map of the KFOR's sectors in 2002.

NATO's initial mandate in 1999 for the KFOR was:[4]

  • to deter renewed hostility and threats against Kosovo by Yugoslav and Serbian forces;
  • to establish and maintain a secure environment in Kosovo, including public safety and civil order;
  • to demilitarize the Kosovo Liberation Army;
  • to support the international humanitarian effort;
  • to co-ordinate 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:[1]

  • 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 program;
  • 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.[5]


KFOR Task Forces, 2006

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.[5] 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.[6]

Structure 2019[edit]

  • Kosovo Force, in Pristina[7]
    • Headquarters Support Group (HSG), in Pristina
    • Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU), in Pristina (Military Police regiment composed entirely of Italian Carabinieri)
    • Multinational Battle Group-East (MNBG-E), at Camp Bondsteel near Ferizaj (U.S. Army force supported by Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Turkey)
    • Multinational Battle Group-West (MMBG-W), at Camp Villaggio Italia near Peć (Italian Army force supported by Austria, Moldova, and Slovenia)
    • Joint Logistics Support Group (JLSG), in Pristina (Logistics and engineering support)
    • KFOR Tactical Reserve Battalion (KTRBN), at Camp Novo Selo (Composed entirely of Hungarian Army troops)
    • Joint Regional Detachment–North (JRD-N), at Camp Novo Selo (Local non-kinetic liaison and monitoring)
    • Joint Regional Detachment–South East (JRD-SE), in Pristina (Local non-kinetic liaison and monitoring)
    • Joint Regional Detachment–West (JRD-W), in Prizren (Local non-kinetic liaison and monitoring)

Contributing states[edit]

Turkish Land Forces KFOR soldiers in riot training
German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999
Italian KFOR soldier protecting Serb civilians in Orahovac during the 2004 unrest

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.[8]

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:[9][10]

Contributing NATO countries (as of March 2019)[11][edit]

Contributing non-NATO countries[edit]

Withdrawn countries[edit]

KFOR commanders[edit]

  1. Mike Jackson (United Kingdom, 10 June 1999 – 8 October 1999)
  2. Klaus Reinhardt (Germany, 8 October 1999 – 18 April 2000)
  3. Juan Ortuño Such [es] (Spain, 18 April 2000 – 16 October 2000)
  4. Carlo Cabigiosu [it] (Italy, 16 October 2000 – 6 April 2001)
  5. Thorstein Skiaker [no] (Norway, 6 April 2001 – 3 October 2001)
  6. Marcel Valentin [fr] (France, 3 October 2001 – 4 October 2002)
  7. Fabio Mini [it] (Italy, 4 October 2002 – 3 October 2003)
  8. Holger Kammerhoff [de] (Germany, 3 October 2003 – 1 September 2004)
  9. Yves de Kermabon [fr] (France, 1 September 2004 – 1 September 2005)
  10. Giuseppe Valotto [it] (Italy, 1 September 2005 – 1 September 2006)
  11. Roland Kather [de] (Germany, 1 September 2006 – 31 August 2007)
  12. Xavier de Marnhac (France, 31 August 2007 – 29 August 2008)
  13. Giuseppe Emilio Gay [it] (Italy, 29 August 2008 – 8 September 2009)
  14. Markus J. Bentler [de] (Germany, 8 September 2009 – 1 September 2010)
  15. Erhard Bühler (Germany, 1 September 2010 – 9 September 2011)
  16. Erhard Drews [de] (Germany, 9 September 2011 – 7 September 2012)
  17. Volker Halbauer [de] (Germany, 7 September 2012 – 6 September 2013)
  18. Salvatore Farina (Italy, 6 September 2013 – 3 September 2014)
  19. Francesco Figliuolo [it] (Italy, 3 September 2014 – 7 August 2015)
  20. Guglielmo Luigi Miglietta [it] (Italy, 7 August 2015 – 1 September 2016)
  21. Giovanni Fungo [it] (Italy, 1 September 2016 – 15 November 2017)
  22. Salvatore Cuoci (Italy, 15 November 2017 – 28 November 2018)
  23. Lorenzo D'Addario (Italy, 28 November 2018 – present)

Note: The terms of service are based on the official list of the KFOR commanders[19] and another article.[20]

Kosovo peacekeeping[edit]


On 9 June 1999 the Military Technical Agreement or Kumanovo Agreement between KFOR and the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia was signed by NATO General Sir Mike Jackson and Yugoslavia Colonel General Svetozar Marjanovic concluding the Kosovo War, outlining the phased withdrawal of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia Forces from Kosovo, gave the KFOR Commander the control of the airspace over Kosovo and pending the United Nations Security Council Resolution’s approval, deployment of KFOR to Kosovo to maintain a secure environment. [21]

On 10 June 1999 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1244 authorizing the deployment in Kosovo of an international civil and security presence for an initial period of 12 months and continue until the Security Council decides otherwise. The civil presence was the United Nations Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK) and the security presence was KFOR. [22]

Unrest in Kosovo continued following adoption of UN 1244 through 2003.

October 28, 2000 the first Municipal Assembly Elections were held. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe(OSCE) announced that approximately 80% of the population participated in this vote for local representatives. The final results were certified by the Special Representative for Kosovo of the UN Secretary-General, Dr Bernard Kouchner, on 7 November. [23]

The 2004 unrest in Kosovo was the worst ethnic violence since 1999, leaving hundreds wounded and at least 14 people dead. On 17 and 18 March 2004, a wave of violent riots swept through Kosovo, triggered by two incidents perceived as ethnically-motivated acts. The first incident, on 15 March 2004, a 18-year-old Serb, Jovica Ivić, was shot near the all Serb village of Čaglavica, near Pristina. [24] [25] On 16 March, three Albanian children drowned in the Ibar River in the village of Čabar, near the Serb community of Zubin Potok. A fourth boy survived. It was speculated that he and his friends had been chased into the river by Serbs in revenge for the shooting of Ivić the previous day, but this claim has not been proven. [26]

The 10 February 2007 protest in Kosovo resulted in 2 deaths and many injuries.

The 2008 unrest in Kosovo followed Kosovo's declaration of independence on February 17, 2008. Some Kosovo Serbs opposed to secession boycotted the move by refusing to follow orders from the central government in Pristina and attempted to seize infrastructure and border posts in Serb-populated regions. There were also sporadic instances of violence against international institutions and governmental institutions, predominantly in North Kosovo.

UNMIK was restructured in 2008 and its rule of law executive tasks were transferred to the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). [27]

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.[28]

The 25 August 2009 Pristina protests resulted in vehicle damages and multiple injuries.

Beginning July 2011 until 2012, a series of confrontations in North Kosovo resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.

In July 2011, following the Kosovo Police's attempts to seize two border outposts and consequent clashes that followed, KFOR troops intervened.[29]

The 2013 protests in Kosovo began with increases in electricity bills and turned into a protest against corruption.

On 19 April 2013, the Belgrade Pristina Normalization Agreement was concluded. Prior, North Kosovo functioned independently from the institutions in Kosovo, as they refused to acknowledge and recognize the independence of Kosovo, declared in 2008. [30][31] The Government of Kosovo opposed any kind of parallel government for Serbs in this region.[32] However, the parallel structures were all abolished by the Brussels Agreement, signed between the governments of Kosovo and Serbia. Both governments agreed upon creating a Community of Serb Municipalities. The association was expected to be officially formed in 2016. According to the agreement, its assembly will have no legislative authority and the judicial authorities will be integrated and operate within the Kosovo legal framework. Political wrangling over Kosovo's status between its government and Serbia and has resulted in Kosovan authorities not allowing the formation of the Community.

The 2014 student protest in Kosovo demanded the resignation or dismissal of the University of Pristina Rector.

The 2015 Kosovo protests were a series of violent protests calling for the resignation of a Minister and the passage of a bill on Trepca Mines ownership. On 6 January protestors claiming that among the pilgrims visiting a local church for Orthodox Christmas included displaced Serbs from Gjakova involved in war crimes against Albanians in 1998-1999 threw blocks of ice at the bus breaking one of its windows. Kosovo Police arrested two protestors. The Minister For Community and Return, who accompanied the pilgrims, made a statement that was perceived by Kosovo Albanians as an ethnic slur leading to riots. The rioters, which included students and opposition parties, demanded his resignation and he was dismissed by the Kosovo Prime Minister. [33] The Kosovo government’s announcement it was postponing a decision on the privatization process of the Trepca mining complex after Serb Kosovo Parliamentary Representatives protested claiming that the Serbian government had the right to retain ownership was met with student-led protests in Pristina, Lipljan and Ferizaj/Urosevac, Kosovo Albanian Miners in South Trepca and Kosovo Serbian Miners in North Trepca. Trepca’s lead, zinc and silver mines once accounted for 75 percent of the mineral wealth of socialist Yugoslavia, employing 20,000 people. Trepca now operates at a minimum level to keep the mines alive employing several thousand miners. The Trepca mines are under the oversight of the Kosovo Privatization Agency.[34]

9 January 2016 protests wanting the government to withdraw from a border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and a agreement to set up a Community of Serb Municipalities. [35]

On 14 January 2017, the Belgrade-Kosovska Mitrovica train incident happened when rhetoric was exchanged between Kosovo and Serbian Officials after Serbia announced restarting train service between Kosovo and Serbia and Kosovo responded stating that the train would be stopped at the border. The initial train was painted in the colors of the Serbian flag with the words “Kosovo is Serbia” printed down the side which was considered provocative by Kosovo Officials and Kosovo Officials stated that Police would stop it at the border. The train travelled from Belgrade to the border town of Raska and returned never crossing into Kosovo.[36] Train service between Kosovo and Serbia remains non-existent.

KFOR fatalities[edit]

Marines from the U.S. provide security for Canadian policemen as they investigate a mass grave in July 1999.

Since the KFOR entered Kosovo in June 1999, soldiers from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America fell in the accomplishment of their duty.

The biggest fatal event is that of the 42 Slovak soldiers dead in a military plane crash in Hungary.

In 20 years, more than 200 NATO soldiers have lost their lives serving to ensure peace and stability for the people of Kosovo.


  1. ^ a b c "NATO's role in Kosovo". nato.int. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Defense.gov News Article: Larger Kosovo Force Takes to Field". archive.defense.gov. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  3. ^ "KFOR Key Facts and Figures" (PDF). nato.int. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  4. ^ "NATO KFOR – KFOR Objectives". jfcnaples.nato.int. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b "NATO Topics: Kosovo Force (KFOR) – How did it evolve?". Nato.int. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  6. ^ Muhamet Brajshori (29 December 2010). "US troops to guard Kosovo's border". setimes.com. Southeast European Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Units". Kosovo Force. NATO. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  8. ^ "KFOR Press Release". Nato.int. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
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  10. ^ "20130422_130419-kfor-placemat" (PDF). Nato.int. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  11. ^ "KFOR | Contributing Nations". jfcnaples.nato.int. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  12. ^ "KFOR | Contributing Nations". jfcnaples.nato.int. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Kosovo International Force Protection (KFOR)". fuerzaaerea.mil.ar. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. ^ "GALERÍAS DE FOTOS DE KFOR". http://www.jef3op.ejercito.mil.ar/. Archived from pictorial the original Check |url= value (help) on 10 March 2009. External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ "Georgia announces withdrawal of peacekeepers from Kosovo". RIA Novosti. 14 April 2008. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  16. ^ Mu Xuequan, ed. (5 March 2008). "Azerbaijan to withdraw peacekeepers from Kosovo". News.xinhuanet.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  17. ^ Tor, Rodolfo A PhD and Annanette B Cruz-Salazar. Global Pulisya. Quezon City, The Philippines: Namnama Global Publishing House. 2010.
  18. ^ Alejandrino, Charlemagne S and Annanette B Cruz-Salazar. National Pride, World Peace. City of Pasig, The Philippines: Makabayan Publishing House. 2010. ISBN 978-971-94613-0-2
  19. ^ "KFOR Commanders". SHAPE. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  20. ^ "Nato's role in Kosovo". NATO. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  21. ^ NATO (9 June 1999). "Military Technical Agreement between the International Security Force ("KFOR") and the Governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia". Retrieved 15 August 2008.
  22. ^ "RESOLUTION 1244 (1999)". undocs.org. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Kosovo municipal election results". Retrieved 7 November 2000. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  24. ^ "Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo". undocs.org. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  25. ^ "The Failure to Protect". undocs.org. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  26. ^ "No evidence over Kosovo drownings". BBC. 28 April 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Rule of law in Kosovo and the Mandate of UNMIK".
  28. ^ "No added NATO security in Kosovo". cnn.com. CNN. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012.
  29. ^ b92 "KFOR blocks Kosovo police unit in tense neighborhood" Check |url= value (help). 22 November 2012.
  30. ^ BBC, Could Balkan break-up continue?, 22.02.08
  31. ^ ""Koha ditore": Kosovska vlada bez ingerencija na severu Kosova - Vesti dana - Vesti Krstarice". 13 July 2011.
  32. ^ Kosovo PM: End to Parallel Structures, BalkanInsight.com, March 7, 2008
  33. ^ "In Kosovo, a Fear of 'The Other' is allowing 'our own' to get away with internal damage to the state". K2.0. 28 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Delays Over Trepca Ignite Protests in Kosovo". 20 January 2015.
  35. ^ "Large anti-government protest in Kosovo turns violent". 2016 Zululand Observer. 9 January 2016.
  36. ^ "Kosovo accused of 'provoking war' after stopping Serbian train at border". The Independent. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2018.

External links[edit]