By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hagburg, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentMarch 30, 2010
ON THE FYROM BORDER, Kosovo - Multi-National Battle Group-East forces conducted their last scheduled joint patrol with the Kosovo Border and Boundary Police on the border with the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia March 29.
Soldiers from Charlie Company, 231st Maneuver Task Force, participated in the patrol.
"This is the last patrol for KFOR along with the Kosovo Border Police," said Staff Sgt. Taylor Smith, Thompson, N.D. "There's a celebration going on among the local people that we're handing over responsibility."
The KP BPP will now be conducting patrols without a Kosovo Forces presence. While KFOR will continue to share responsibility for the FYROM border with the KP BBP, the KP BPP will be taking the lead on future patrols. Meanwhile, KP BPP will continue to conduct joint patrols with EULEX on the border.
"It's nice to see that we're getting the job done and handing it over to the Kosovo authorities so they can take care of themselves," said Spc. Michael Phaneuf, Grand Forks. "It kind of makes you feel like you actually got the mission accomplished over the last 10 years."
The next step for KP BPP will be to begin synchronized patrols with the FYROM Border Police. On the planned synchronized patrols, the two border police units will patrol the border together, jointly ensuring a safe and secure environment and maintaining freedom of movement for everyone in the region.
KP BBP officials and the FYROM Border Police are engaged in planning future operations and addressing issues, including beginning synchronized patrols. The local commanders of KP BBP and FYROM BP have an excellent relationship and the cooperation will result in a seamless transition and a safe environment.
The process of KP BBP assuming responsibility for patrolling Kosovo's borders and boundaries began along the Albanian border. Once the KP BBP met European Union standards for training and proficiency, it took over all patrols on the Albanian border.
KFORs adaptation to the Battle Group structure of 10,000 troops is designed to create a more mobile, flexible, and agile force that can respond quickly and decisively anywhere as a third responder if needed. KFOR will continue its partnership with the KP BBP, but KP BBP has progressed to the point that KFOR support on joint border patrols is no longer necessary.