Kosovo emerged as an internationally recognized independent state in February 2008, after unilaterally declaring its independence from Serbia. This followed almost 10 years of U.N.-supervised transition following the 1998–99 Kosovo civil war. That war pitted ethnic Albanians against ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, and major combat between these populations ended after extensive NATO air and ground force interventions in 1999.
The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence, and support for Kosovo has been a major U.S. objective since that time. As the Kosovo war ended, the United Nations adopted UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution No. 1244 (1999), which authorized the U.N. to govern the territory of Kosovo through the U.N. Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Under UNSC Res. 1244, security is provided by the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR consists of armed forces supplied by a coalition of 30 countries, of which 23 are NATO nations. At the time of Kosovo’s independence in 2008, NATO affirmed that KFOR will remain in Kosovo on the basis of UNSC Res. 1244, unless the U.N. Security Council decides otherwise. Today, 5,600 KFOR troops remain in Kosovo to provide security, while also helping the Kosovo government to create a new Kosovo Security Force capable of assuming national security responsibilities.
On October 15, 2012, Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga invited the Peace Corps to send Peace Corps Volunteers to Kosovo. The Peace Corps sent an assessment team in December 2012, which determined Kosovo was prepared to host Peace Corps Volunteers. The Peace Corps signed a Country Agreement with the Republic of Kosovo on September 9, 2013.