© 2002 Friends of Bosnia  

The NATO forces in Kosovo (KFOR) arrived on June 12, 1999 under the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. 43,000 armed peacekeepers from 30 countries patrol a country the size of Connecticut. KFOR’s mission is to maintain a secure environment, confiscate weapons, and to partner with UNMIK in public works, landmine clearance, and border security.

Due to current ethnic tensions, KFOR places special attention on the protection of Serb religious monuments and escorts the remaining 100,000 Serbs to their daily errands and gatherings.

American soldiers are primarily based at Camp Bondsteel in the south. Captain William Thompson, Public Affairs officer at the smaller US base, Monteith, in Gnjilane, took us out for a daily patrol. He is with the National Guard and is a photojournalist from Arkansas.

We visited an American platoon on patrol in the Serb village of Silovo, four miles from the Serbian border. Barbed wire and a Bradley armed personnel carrier protect the
St. Marko Orthodox Church here. Not too far away is a small Albanian village. “I saw a destroyed Serb church and realized that no one is innocent here,” said Captain Thompson. The American troops hold meetings to try and increase rapport between the Serbs and Albanians. Some former VJ (Yugoslav army) soldiers live here. “Albanians are afraid of this town. It is not very friendly,” said Sgt. 1st Class Stewart. “You need to stare some of them down. If you look away first, he’s got you.” KFOR has been given lists of names of VJ and also nearby KLA soldiers but haven’t yet found them. “We know they have weapons and have made it known that we don’t want them shooting them,” he said, entering a jeep to begin nightly patrols.




Above: American KFOR soldier guards St. Marko Orthodox Church in Silovo
1) Captain William Thompson, Camp Monteith Public Affairs
2) KFOR troops check cars for registration and weapons in Racak