Participation in ISAF mission in Afghanistan

Republic of Macedonia began its participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation in August 2002, with the sending of two officers as part of the Turkish contingent. On September 8, independence day of the Republic of Macedonia, the Macedonian flag was waved for the first time in Kabul. In March 2003, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia increased its contribution in the ISAF mission by sending one section from the composition of the 2nd Infantry Brigade as part of the German contingent. As a result of the successful carrying out of the mission and the high marks received for participation in ISAF, from August 2004 until the end of 2006, the ARM participated with one mechanized infantry platoon from the Leopard unit. At the same time, in August 2005 medical personnel was sent in ISAF as part of the Combined Medical Team in the A3 format (Macedonia, Albania, Croatia), which successfully carried out tasks at the Kabul airport, firstly in the composition of the Greek Field Hospital, and later in the composition of the Czech Field Hospital.

Based on the assessments of the Alliance in the part of the declared units from the ARM, which achieved the required strict standards in the field of training and operational procedures, and in line with the Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC), the ARM in June 2006 sent also one mechanized infantry company, part of the first mechanized infantry brigade, in the composition of the British contingent in ISAF. The trust shown from the United Kingdom towards the ninety “Scorpions” from the first infantry brigade, was justified in full.

The high marks from the highest command structures for the work of the unit as well as the learned lessons are only an imperative for continuing the successful mission.
In the second rotation of the company for securing the ISAF command, the Republic of Macedonia increased the participation from ninety to one hundred and twenty seven participants, and from January 2008 it sent three staff officers in the ISAF Command in Kabul.

As a support to the efforts for self-sustainability of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA), beginning from March 2008, the Republic of Macedonia sent two soldiers (one officer and one NCO) as part of the Combined Multinational Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT) in Mazar-i-Sharif while, beginning from December 2008, in cooperation with the Kingdom of Norway, a Macedonian medical team is included through one Surgical team in the organizational structure of the surgical unit of the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Meymanah, Afghanistan.

Currently, the Republic of Macedonia participates with one Mechanized Infantry Company (One hundred and twenty seven soldiers), three officers in the main staff in Kabul, four representatives in the A# Medical Team of the Czech hospital in Kala and a Surgical Team in the organizational structure of the Surgical Unit of the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Meymanah. The current total number of participants is one hundred and forty two. Thus far the Republic of Macedonia has participated with a total of seven hundred and ninety participants in ISAF.

The benefits that the ARM received from the participation in the ISAF mission, firstly from the learned lessons, will be felt in the future. For a country with modest economic development as Macedonia, to have highly trained soldiers of this caliber that are capable to show a high degree of professionalism and at the same time to contribute for the overall positive picture of ISAF, represents a special honour. The Republic of Macedonia and all of its citizens have been always proud of the Army personnel that in this period are not only guardians of peace to the sovereignty of the nation, but at the same time are ambassadors for peace. This is why, they together with their colleagues from NATO, help in the establishment of the democratic development of Afghanistan.