Strange BND affair in Kosovo

On 14th Nov. 2008  a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in Pristina, Kosovo.  Three officers of Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – Foreign Intelligence service of Germany – were arrested. The three agents – despite protestations from Berlin and the BND of their innocence – spent 10 days in detention.  The case created tensions between Germany and Kosovo’s local government and nobody seems to know how the case developed so far in public.

Today doubts concerning the culpability of the BND agents seemed to have  been cleared. The previously unheard of ‘Army of the Republic of Kosovo’ (ARK) had accepted responsibility for the bomb attack. Laboratory tests had shown no evidence of the BND agents’ involvement. In addition, a television report had aired quoting a police report that allegedly said that the Germans had in no way been involved.  (Source Welt-Online)

Now the agents are free and the Kosovo government has expressed its regret over detention. (Source: Deutsche Welle).

BND in Kosovo

For a number of years, Kosovo has been a major operational area for the BND. In addition to being politically unstable and located not far from Germany’s borders, it is a hotbed of organized crime with links to Germany and is a country where numerous German police officers and soldiers are stationed.

A German magazine Der Spiegel published a wide article about BND in Kosovo.  It claims that there are no less than three BND departments focusing on Kosovo, including Department Five, responsible for organized crime, the same department that certified in 2005 that Prime Minister Thaçi is a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network. (Source Spiegel) .

Some backgrounds of Kosovo  “Independence”

Tom Burghard describes in “The Intelligence Daily” some backgrouds of Kosovo’s “independence”.

“When Kosovo proclaimed its “independence” in February, the Western media hailed the provocative dismemberment of Serbia, a move that completed the destruction of Yugoslavia by the United States, the European Union and NATO, as an exemplary means to bring “peace and stability” to the region. If by “peace” one means impunity for rampaging crime syndicates or by “stability,” the freedom of action with no questions asked by U.S. and NATO military and intelligence agencies, not to mention economic looting on a grand scale by freewheeling multinational corporations, then Kosovo has it all! (Source The Intelligance Daily)


So how is it possible that this BND affair took place in circumstances described earlier?  Given the fact that after the U.S. Germany is the 2nd largest financial backer of Kosovo, why would the Thaci government risk alienating the German state –  why did Mr. Thaci choose to pick this fight with Germany in the first place?  Günther Lachmann said quite straight in his article on 30th Nov. 2008 in Die Welt, that “In security circles one hears various answers to this question. The most common one is that the action was taken as revenge”.  The cause of revenge are leaked BND reports linking Kosovo’s political leaders to international organized crime.

Leaked BND reports

At the time, the confidential report was quickly leaked to the media. Thaçi has never forgiven the Germans for that.( Der Spiegel).  The reports in question are a 67-page long, hard-hitting analysis by the BND about organized crime in Kosovo and a confidential 108-page report contracted by the German military, the Bundeswehr (sc. BND-IEP Report Kosovo 2007).

The BND-IEP report also repeats the accusations against Thaci claiming, that real power in Kosovo lays with 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are “closely linked to prominent political decision makers,”.

In contrast to the CIA and MI6, both German intelligence reports accuse Thaci as well as former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and Xhavit Haliti of the parliamentary leadership of far-reaching involvement in organized crime.

More about leaked BND reports as follows:

  • Leaked BND Report 2005 (Short 27-p leaked BND report can be found upside down)
  • BND-IEP Report Kosovo 2007 (Operatinalisierung von Security Sector Reform (SSR) auf dem Westlichen Balkan intelligente/kreativ Ansätze fier die langfristig positive Gestaltung dieser Region)

Facts on the ground are remaining

In reports mentioned above is nothing new for intelligence agencies.  As a former official of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Michael Levine has said that one of the wings of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was “linked with every known narco-cartel in the Middle East and the Far East”, and that almost every European intelligence service and police has files on “connections between ethnic Albanian rebels and drug trafficking”.  (More inB92 article).

U.S. involvement?

There are also still further hypotheses made by Peter Schwartz in The Intelligence  Daily based to BND-IEP report about  substantial tensions between German and American bodies. “The German report is particular critical of the role of the US, which had obstructed European investigations and which had been opened up to political extortion by the existence of secret CIA detention centres in the grounds of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.” (Source The Intelligence Daily ).

The bottom line

Whatever is the true story about BND affair in Kosovo or its background the follow-up is an increasing  lack of confidence between German authorities and present Kosovo government as well doubts to skills of BND.

A high-ranking BND official spoke out with yet sharper words. “The German government had allowed itself to be dragged by the nose through global politics by a country in which organized crime is the form of government,” he told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. (Welt-Online)

More my views over Kosovo onemay find from my Archives:Blog


P.S. Some times ago there was rumors about BND report claiming that then UN envoy Ahtisaari took bribes from (Kosovo) Albanian mafia.  However I have not found any proof or reports about this case.  If someone has more info so please send a link to proof that the case includes something more that a propaganda article.

3 Responses to Strange BND affair in Kosovo

  1. Milan Blagojevic says:

    Hello Ari

    What puzzles me is that the BND would have known all about Thaci and Co activities prior to 1999, during 1999 and up to the present. WHy are they publishing reports on his criminal involvement 10 years after blatant German support for ALbanian militants? THis does not make sense now. The GErman BND can’t claim to have ‘not known’ about Thaci’s other interests up until now. So what motive do they have to do this rather than go along with the flow and continue to nurse Europe’s unwanted child-Kosovo?



  2. arirusila says:

    I think that core question is a gap between to know and act. All inteligence services have known also KLA’s earlier (criminal)activities after mid-90s. However politically the western powers selected their side against Serbia and got KLA/UCK as their ally with same trade – it’s only politics nothing more nothing less.

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