NATO Verification Mission and Extraction Force (EF)

13 February 1999 - 24 March 1999
Military personnel

In the Yugoslavian constitution of 1974, Kosovo was granted the status of an autonomous province within the constituent republic of Serbia. The majority of Kosovo’s population was of Albanian extraction, while a small minority came from Serbia. The Serb president, Milosevic, stripped Kosovo of its autonomous status in 1989.

Armed conflict

In the years that followed, the Albanians lost all the rights which guaranteed the preservation of their own language and culture. The nationalistic sentiment of which Milosevic took advantage and the repressive policy adopted towards the Albanian Kosovars led in the 90s to an armed conflict in Kosovo, which became so intense in 1998 that neighbouring countries were at risk of becoming embroiled.

Kosovo mission

On 24 October 1998, the Security Council decided, in view of the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Kosovo, to establish an OSCE-led Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) and a NATO Verification Mission. The latter was tasked with conducting aerial observation over Kosovo, in close cooperation with the KVM.

Observation from the air

A NATO-led Extraction Force (EF) had the task of getting KVM observers and individuals with special status, such as diplomats and important Kosovar figures, to safety if the need arose.


The OSCE withdrew the KVM observers, who were being increasingly hampered in their duties by the Yugoslav authorities, on 20 March 1999, thus removing the EF’s raison d'être. The EF was absorbed in the French Framework Brigade on 24 March and was incorporated in the Kosovo Force (KFOR) organisation at the beginning of April. The units stationed in Macedonia were deployed in the meantime to provide humanitarian aid to displaced Albanian Kosovars.