NATO started its first mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* on Aug. 26, 2001 with operation Essential Harvest. The aim of the mission was to collect weapons that were voluntarily handed over from ethnic Albanian insurgents. The mission was very successful and together with the efforts of the International Community resulted in bringing to an end fights and clashes between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* regular forces and insurgents, by signing the framework agreement in Ohrid that gave more rights to the Albanian ethnical population in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*.
*Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
Task Force Fox (TFF) was deployed by NATO, on invitation by the government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, to build on the success of Task Force Harvest whose efforts directly contributed to the disarmament of armed insurgents.
In doing so, Task Force Harvest established the conditions for peaceful solution of the crisis in that country.The role of TFF was to contribute to the protection of international monitors who were overseeing the implementation of the peace plan in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*. By this mission NATO continued to contribute to the efforts of the international community aimed at fostering stability in the country and the region.
The role of Task Force Harvest was to collect arms and ammunition voluntarily turned over by ethnic Albanian insurgents, and thereby help to build confidence in the broader peace process suggested by the President of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The key tasks of TFH were:
Collection of weapons and ammunition from the insurgents;
Transportation and disposal of weapons which are surrendered; and,
Transportation and destruction of ammunition that is turned in.
Collection sites were established within the insurgents' operational areas. Weapons were destroyed unless they were unsafe to move. Ammunition were destroyed in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* at a site agreed to with national authorities (Krivolak), taking into account the potential environmental impact. Ammunition unsafe to move was destroyed at the collection point. The operation commenced after the Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH), who is responsible for NATO operations in the Balkans, assessed the military situation and received reports that TFH forces were deployed and operational.
KFOR REAR in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* had its Headquarters at the "Gazella" Shoe Factory in the capital Skopje and since the amalgamation of the KFOR REAR HQ and Task Force Fox HQ its remaining functions were absorbed by NATO HQ Skopje.
Headquarters Rear was responsible for sustaining the so-called "Communications Zone" (COMMZ) in the KFOR theatre rear area. The KFOR COMMZ area of responsibility encompassed the sovereign independent nations former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Greece (COMMZ South), Albania (COMMZ West), and - to a certain extent - Bulgaria (COMMZ East).