Telegraph - Troops to fight Kosovo crime

by Julius Strauss

Thursday 23 December

The commander of the Nato peacekeeping force in Kosovo has ordered his troops back on to the streets in force in an attempt to stem an increase in violent crime and ethnic attacks,

The move is a tacit admission that the United Nations police cannot cope with the surge in murders, kidnappings and rioting as ethnic Albanians and organised crime barons extend their operations. The UN police are gradually taking over policing duties from the peacekeeping force, KFOR, but incompetence and undermanning mean they have had limited success.

Bernard Kouchner, the UN administrator of Kosovo, had asked for 6,000 policemen, but so far only 1,800 have arrived. To fill the gap, Gen Klaus Reinhardt, the German commander of KFOR, has redeployed soldiers from areas of relative calm to ethnic faultlines. He has also set up more checkpoints.

His approach is a reversal of the policy of Lt Gen Sir Mike Jackson, his predecessor, who believed that public order was a job not suited to the 50,000-strong KFOR.

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