NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Monday that NATO is considering a permanent increase in the number of troops in Kosovo to maintain control over tensions. This decision comes after a clash between police and armed Serbs in the peaceful village of Banjska turned into a war zone on September 24. In response, NATO sent hundreds of additional troops from the UK and Romania to Kosovo.
Stoltenberg expressed the need for a permanent increase in troops to prevent the situation from escalating and to avoid the potential of a new violent conflict in Kosovo or the wider region. The unrest in September raised international concerns about the stability of Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian majority and declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a guerrilla insurgency and NATO intervention in 1999.
KFOR, a NATO peacekeeping mission that has been in operation since 1999, currently consists of more than 4,500 soldiers from 27 countries. Stoltenberg’s visit to Kosovo included discussions on the potential need for a permanent troop increase to ensure stability and prevent further escalation of tensions in the region.