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Spotlight Article

Azerbaijani Peacekeepers

Azerbaijan America Alliance
July 27, 2015

Azerbaijani Peacekeepers

In 1996 Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Azerbaijan agreed during a conference in Vienna to work together on regional security issues. Under the context of this agreement, Azerbaijan established a special detachment within its armed forces to serve as peacekeepers. This unit could be deployed to conflict areas in the Caucasus and soon expanded into a full battalion. Azerbaijani peacekeepers have participated in many stability operations since their inception. Through its dedicated corps of peacekeepers, Azerbaijan helps to contribute to global stability.

Peacekeepers are carefully selected from the ranks of Azerbaijan’s armed forces. In addition to the customary combat training, they receive education in foreign languages, foreign customs, and other subjects. After intensive training and education, servicemen are assigned to the peacekeeping unit and are ready to support operations.

Founded to help stabilize conflict zones in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan’s peacekeepers first saw action with NATO in Kosovo. In 1999 a unit of thirty Azerbaijani peacekeepers deployed to Kosovo with a Turkish unit as part of the NATO-led operation. Over the following decade the Azerbaijani peacekeepers helped to patrol 18 villages in Kosovo. The peacekeepers returned home after Kosovo declared its independence in 2008.

In 2003 150 Azerbaijani peacekeepers deployed to Northern Iraq with the US-led Coalition. The peacekeepers helped secure the strategic city of Haditha. For five years the peacekeepers helped maintain order and ensure that Haditha’s hydroelectric dam remained secure. By the time the force withdrew in 2008 four Azerbaijani officers had been rewarded an achievement medal from the US Marine Corps.

Azerbaijan has also assisted the US-led operation in Afghanistan since it started in 2001. In addition to allowing the United States to fly through Azerbaijani airspace, Azerbaijan contributed a unit of peacekeepers in 2002. Attached to a Turkish unit, Azerbaijan’s peacekeepers helped to patrol neighborhoods in Kabul. At the moment, 94 Azerbaijani servicemen, 2 medical officers, and 2 engineers helped with the assistance force in Afghanistan.

By committing part of its armed forces to peacekeeping, Azerbaijan reaffirms its support of activity that promotes development and lasting peace. In addition to helping bring stability and security to the Central Asian country, the peacekeepers also help Azerbaijan build deeper ties with the United States, NATO members, and regional partners.

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