In response to the escalation of violence in Kosovo, NATO is considering a permanent increase in the number of troops in the region, according to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The decision comes after a clash between police and armed Serbs in the village of Banjska turned into a war zone on September 24. As a response, NATO has sent hundreds of extra troops from Britain and Romania to Kosovo.
Stoltenberg told reporters during a visit to Kosovo that NATO is now considering whether there is a need for a permanent increase in troops to ensure that tensions remain under control and prevent any new violent conflicts from arising. The unrest in September raised new international concerns about the stability of Kosovo, which has an ethnic Albanian majority and declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after a guerrilla insurgency and NATO intervention in 1999.
KFOR, the NATO peacekeeping mission that has been operating since 1999, currently consists of more than 4,500 soldiers from 27 countries. The potential permanent increase in troops is aimed at maintaining stability in Kosovo and preventing future conflicts from arising.