PRISTINA - A solemn ceremony that took place at KFOR Headquarters marked the completion of Norway’s contribution to the NATO-led mission in Kosovo. Norway has been a highly valuable contributor to KFOR since its launch in 1999. Special Forces from the Norwegian Armed Forces' Special Command were among the very first troops to be deployed to Kosovo. They were tasked, among other assignments, to secure the airport of the capital city Pristina and create the conditions to allow for the deployment of the core elements of KFOR. Thereafter, the National Support Element was deployed, and beginning in September, Norway provided a mechanized infantry battalion with over 900 Soldiers. With their headquarters outside Pristina, the Norwegian Battalion was responsible for security in three municipalities, within the framework of a UK-led brigade. A Norwegian supply detachment was located outside Skopje, in North Macedonia.
From April to October 2001, Norway was the lead nation for KFOR's fifth contingent and provided a number of specialized support functions to the headquarters. The Norwegian forces were at the disposal of the Norwegian commander of KFOR, appointed by NATO Headquarters. From the Norwegian Battalion, an operational reserve force of over 200 was formed. Task Force Viking was separated from the main battalion and was at the direct disposal of the KFOR Commander. The total Norwegian force contribution during this period was of around 1400 troops. The Norway House was built in Camp Film City as a welfare house for the Norwegian Battalion.
The Norwegian Air Force also contributed to this NATO-led mission with helicopters and air personnel, firstly in 2001 and then from 2004 to 2005. Norway has contributed one Force Commander to KFOR, Lieutenant General Thorstein Skiaker in 2001. After Norway withdrew its maneuver forces, staff personnel remained as a vital part of KFOR Headquarters.