Operation Allied Harbor


The objective of Operation Allied Harbor was to provide humanitarian assistance to soothe the suffering of the huge number of ethnic Albanian refugees in Albania and Macedonia.

Relief plans included:

  • Construction of camps as an interim shelter.
  • Engineer support to repair roads, airfields, and other infrastructure.
  • Provide transportation for refugee movement and medical evacuation.
  • Assistance in the distribution of food and other supplies.
  • Support with electronic communication.


The governments of Macedonia and Albania could not handle the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo that needed protection, housing, and food. NATO supported the civilian authorities and the international humanitarian organizations under Operation Allied Harbor.

On April 10, 1999, A team of AMF(L) arrived in Tirana to make final recommendations on the deployment of the force. Ten nations contribute to the staff and all NATO nations contribute forces.

On April 11, 1999, NATO decided to start with a humanitarian operation, to help refugees from Kosovo at the border of Albania.

On April 15, 1999, NATO announced that rules of engagement for this Operation were approved by the North Atlantic Council and that, following the reconnaissance mission by AFSOUTH in Albania, the number of forces to be assigned to Allied Harbor were planned to be about 7,300.

On April 16, 1999, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Clark, ordered the execution of Operation Allied Harbor.

About AMF
ACE Mobile Force (AMF) Land consists of a brigade-sized formation of some 5,000 troops, reporting to SACEUR.

The command of all NATO-led forces in Albania was transferred from the commander of AFSOUTH to the commander of AMF(L). This force was referred to by NATO as Albanian Force (AFOR).

Some elements of the force assigned to Operation Allied Harbor were already in place at the time of the reconnaissance as a part of national contingents deployed by NATO (450 troops from France, 200 from Germany, 230 from Greece, 830 from the US, 1,100 from Italy, and with Belgium, Canadian, and Dutch contingents already en route).

In Operation Allied Harbor NATO cooperated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Albanian authorities.


May 4, 1999

Forces were provided by Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.


The force was divided into task groups and a leading nation was appointed for each of

  • Task Force N [Italy]
  • Task Force S [France]
  • Combined Joint Task Force R [Netherlands/Belgium]
  • Task Force W [Spain]
  • Task Force Shining Hope [US]


September 1999

On July 14, 1999, Task Force Romeo members of the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force, the Army and the military police returned to the The Netherlands after more than 3 months. Since April 22, 1999, 550 troops helped to move 5,800 refugees from northern Albania to safer areas in the south. In total, 3,156 tons of food and other goods were transported.

The three RNLAF CH-47's helicopters remained in Albania in support of KFOR operations until September 30, 1999.

The four Bo105 helicopters remained in Albania until October 6, 1999, after which date the detachment was relocated in Kosovo.

Source: AFSOUTH, Dutch DoD.