Operation Essential Harvest

26 August 2001 - 2 October 2001
Military personnel

The population of Macedonia consisted mainly of Slavonic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians. By tradition, the Slavonic Macedonians held the key positions in society. Although ethnic Albanian parties formed part of virtually all successive governments, until 2001 there was little progress in terms of concessions to their demands – political and socio-economic equality as a constitutional entity within Macedonia.


The greatest fear of the Slavonic Macedonian parties in the government was namely that the Albanian demands would jeopardise the unity of the country. A wave of violence erupted in the second half of 2000. The parties signed a ceasefire on 6 July 2001. Then on 13 August, the Slavonic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders then signed what was known as the Ohrid Agreement, which contained the following points: recognition of the territorial integrity of Macedonia and the multi-ethnic character of Macedonian society. The UCK-M, the main ethnic Albanian resistance movement, demonstrated its willingness to comply by surrendering at least 3.300 weapons.

Collection of weapons

NATO was asked to take on the task of collecting these weapons. A tactical brigade headquarters was given the military-operational control of Task Force Harvest (TFH). 4 battalions, which together brought in 14 companies and squadrons, formed the main building blocks of the brigade.