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Only a Few Days Left…

Szöveg: László Szűcs |  2013. február 14. 9:10

There are only a few days left before the soldiers of the seventh rotation of the HDF KFOR Contingent (KFOR-7 HUN CON) complete their tour of duty in Kosovo. We interviewed Lt.- Col. István Kása, the commander of the contingent about the tasks executed over the last six months.

“We have reached the end of a lively mission. In my opinion, the soldiers of the seventh
rotation – most of them deployed to Kosovo from the HDF 25th “Klapka György" Infantry
Brigade – have fully accomplished their tasks, and through their disciplined attitude and
outstanding task execution, they have further enhanced the good reputation of Hungary and
the Hungarian Defence Forces", Lt.-Col. István Kása told us.


The contingent commander added that the KFOR Tactical Reserve Maneuver Battalion
(KTM) – which operates under the direct subordination of the commander of KFOR
(COMKFOR) – has a 50-50 ratio of Portuguese and Hungarian peacekeepers. Over the
last few years, the soldiers of the two nations have demonstrated their ability to cooperate

Lt.-Col. Kása stressed that the first month of their tour of duty, which had started in
last August, had been taken up by redeployment and the handover-takeover process.
Subsequently, in September they had to enable the rotation of the Portuguese part of the
battalion. “From October to the end of January, the maneuver element of the contingent
served as part of the KTM battalion, while the support element and the national command
group supported this work" – the commander noted.

“In the last six months, the most important task for the soldiers of the Hungarian contingent
was to maintain freedom of movement for the civilian population and a safe and secure
environment (SASE). Additionally, they conducted presence patrolling on multiple occasions,
mainly in the town of Mitrovica in Northern Kosovo, which is populated by Serbs and
Albanians. Their activities covered the whole spectrum of peacekeeping tasks, from the
classical ones of controlling and cordoning off areas to Crowd Riot Control (CRC)" – the
lieutenant-colonel pointed out.


“During the last months the KTM battalion – including the soldiers of the Hungarian
contingent – participated in all KFOR tasks on some level", Lt.-Col. Kása said, stressing that
on multiple occasions, both the battalion commander and the COMKFOR spoke highly of the
job done by the Hungarian peacekeepers.

We were told that the security situation in the area of operations has improved to a certain
extent over the last six months. Apart from the northern areas – where conflicts between
Albanians and Serbs occurred almost on a daily basis in the past few months as well – peace
prevails in the country, and the peaceful coexistence of the two nationalities is guaranteed.

During the last few weeks, the medal parade held on January 25 was an outstanding event
for the members of the contingent. Besides the usual NATO-medals, the soldiers of both
contingents handed over national tokens of appreciation and mementos to each other in
recognition of their effective cooperation.


Some days before the expiry of the rotation mandate, a comprehensive commander’s
inspection of the contingent was carried out. All special fields were checked during the
review of the six-month work, and the preliminary report by the committee has assessed the
contingent as “satisfactory", the commander told us.

The first group of the next eighth rotation has recently arrived in Pristina, and the several-
week handover-takeover process started almost instantly. “The next major task is to
participate in providing in-mission training for the newcomers in the area of operations". In
what follows, the members of the new contingent will conduct a so-called validation process
at the end of February – and we are supposed to help them with that too, because they can
become fully-fledged members of the KTM battalion only after its successful completion" –
Lt.-Col. István Kása told us, adding that the last soldiers of the seventh rotation would leave
Kosovo at the end of February.

Having arrived home, the members of the contingent will take part in a usual medical
screening, and then – after a “welcome home" ceremony to be organized in Tata in the first
days of March – they can start their well-deserved paid leave.


Photo: HDF KFOR-7 HUN CON and archives