11/24/2004

U.S. Troops End Nine Years in Bosnia Peace Force

Yahoo! News - U.S. Troops End Nine Years in Bosnia Peace Force: "EAGLE BASE, Bosnia (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Wednesday ended a 9-year peacekeeping role in Bosnia but kept on a small contingent to hunt down top war crimes suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

'Those are the two guys we want to get,' said Brigadier General Timothy Wright, commander of the outgoing 700-strong peace contingent, at a ceremony to end Task Force Eagle.

Bosnian Serb fugitives Karadzic and Mladic will be the 'primary focus' of some 150 soldiers who will stay on in Eagle Base in northern Bosnia, he said.

About 100 more will remain at a new NATO (news - web sites) headquarters in Sarajevo under Brigadier General Steven Schook, commander of the outgoing Stabilization Force (SFOR).

U.S. soldiers made up a third of NATO's original force of 60,000 which was deployed in Bosnia in December 1995 under the Dayton peace treaty and became the Stabilization Force (SFOR).

SFOR shrank over the years to under 10,000 and will be replaced next week by a European Union (news - web sites) Force (EUFOR) of 7,000.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Karadzic and his military chief Mladic have been indicted for genocide by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica and for the siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war.

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