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)
TypeCommand
RolePeacekeeping
Size3,500 personnel
Part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Nickname(s)"KFOR"
EngagementsYugoslav Wars
Websitehttps://jfcnaples.nato.int/kfor
Commanders
Current
commander
MG Lorenzo D'Addario, EI
Insignia
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]

Objectives

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]

Structure

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