Operation KOBOLD

Operation KOBOLD is a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission in Kosovo. It is Canada’s role in the Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR is a NATO-led peace-support operation.

Task Force Pristina

Five CAF members currently serve in Pristina, Kosovo. They provide logistics and headquarters support. The Task Force Commander is also the chief of the NATO Joint Logistics Operation Center.

Mission context

Kosovo Force

The Kosovo Force had about 4,500 troops from 31 nations as of June 2016.  21 of the nations are NATO members.  KFOR is structured as two battle groups from multiple countries. They are supported by:

  • a reserve battalion;
  • a specialist unit;
  • a joint logistics group; and
  • a headquarters.

KFOR works closely with:

  • the European Union (E.U.) –especially the E.U. Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX);
  • the United Nations; and
  • many non-government groups.

KFOR’s current mandate is to maintain:

  • a safe and secure environment in Kosovo; and
  • freedom of movement for all.

NATO has been slowly changing KFOR’s force posture over time. The force is being made smaller and more flexible. This change has been done in small steps as the security in the area has improved.  The North Atlantic Council (NAC) decides on all changes to KFOR. This is done as the security on the ground evolves.

KFOR also works with:

  • the United Nations (UN);
  • the European Union (EU); and
  • other international actors.

The intent is that these groups work together to develop a Kosovo that is:

  • stable;
  • democratic;
  • multi-ethnic; and
  • peaceful.

KFOR’s other tasks include:

  • helping return and relocate displaced persons and refugees;
  • reconstruction and mine clearance;
  • medical assistance;
  • security and public order;
  • security of ethnic minorities;
  • protection of heritage sites;
  • border security;
  • helping stop weapons smuggling;
  • carrying out a Kosovo-wide amnesty program to collect and destroy weapons, ammunition and explosives; and
  • support to establish:                     
    • civilian institutions;
    • law and order;
    • the judicial and penal systems;
    • the electoral process; and
    • other aspects of the political, economic and social life of Kosovo.

Protecting minorities is a high priority. This task includes:

  • regular patrols near minority enclaves;
  • checkpoints to monitor and control movements;
  • escorts for minority groups;
  • protection of heritage sites such as monasteries; and
  • distribution of humanitarian aid, such as food, clothes and school supplies.

Operation ALLIED FORCE

KFOR was formed following Operation ALLIED FORCE. This was the NATO air campaign of March 23 to June 10, 1999.  It was launched against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, mainly the Republic of Serbia.  NATO launched ALLIED FORCE to compel Serbia to cease military action against the Kosovo Liberation Army (Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës). This conflict had caused a humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. Canada took part in the air campaign under Operation KINETIC.

Origins of Kosovo Force

KFOR was formed as an international security force. It came under the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999.  The resolution gave KFOR a mandate to:

  • establish and maintain a secure environment in Kosovo. This would include public safety and order;
  • monitor, verify and, when necessary, enforce compliance with:
    • the conditions of the Military Technical Agreement of June 9, 1999;  and
    • the UÇK Demilitarization Undertaking concluded on June 20, 1999;  and
  • assist the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

KFOR in independent Kosovo

Kosovo declared independence from the Republic of Serbia on February 17, 2008. At that time, NATO confirmed that KFOR would remain in Kosovo. This was done on the basis of UN Security Resolution of June 10, 1999.  The foreign ministers of NATO’s member nations agreed to KFOR staying in Kosovo in December 2007.

Links

Government of Canada

Government of Kosovo

International missions

Pertinent documents

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