Pristina arming KSF?

The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) will increase its numbers by 403 uniformed personnel next year, reaching the total number of 4.039

Source: Beta
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EPA-EFE Kushtrim Ternava
EPA-EFE Kushtrim Ternava

This was announced today by the Balkan Security Network portal, which states that "Pristina is thus trying to strengthen its armed forces and plans to procure additional combat equipment, but not offensive means or weapons of great firepower."

"The plan to strengthen the KSF is defined in a package of defense documents voted by the Pristina parliament in December 2018. The Law on the KSF defines that the goal is to reach 5.000 people in active composition," it is further stated.

The portal adds that this year the number of KSF reached 3.636 people, and that in 2021, with the planned increase of 11 percent, that number will be 4.039 formation places.

Of that, the KSF will have 3.813 seats and the administration of the ministry will have 226 people. "The larger number of people is a direct consequence of Pristina's ambition to have a stronger armed force. The previous three battalions with commands in Gjilane, Istok and Kosovska Mitrovica were reformed into three regiments without a major change in the number of people... Basically, regiments are light infantry battalions, basic weapons being automatic rifles. Mechanized companies are transported on US made HMMWV and Otokar Cobra off-road armored vehicles procured from Turkey", it is said.

The text reminds that the previous Law on KSF from 2008 provided only for lightly armed units, without tanks, artillery and offensive aircraft, but the legal changes from 2018 do not envisage any restrictions, so the KSF has open ambitions for the introduction of new means of war techniques.

"Procurement is planned for fire support companies that are part of the regiments. The ambition of the KSF is to be modern anti-tank missile systems, mortars, automatic grenade launchers and light portable air defense missile systems. It is certain that there will be no procurement of offensive weapons and large weapons with strong firepower", the text reads, adding that 81- and 120-millimeter mortars, 40-millimeter automatic grenade launchers will probably be procured, and that 12.7-millimeter heavy machine guns will be installed on some off-road vehicles.

Pristina authorities are also planning to procure anti-tank weapons, i.e. rocket launchers and guided missiles, and within the anti-tank defense, American M93 Hornet mines will be procured.

"The old ambition of the KSF is to form a helicopter unit that currently exists only on paper. Young pilots have been trained in Turkey who will fly in the future on two multi-purpose helicopters, of an undefined model," the Balkan Security Network portal states.

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