Lieutenant General Roland Kather, a senior ranking General in the German Army, served as Commander of KFOR from 2006-7. He is a veteran of the Balkans and was Chief of Staff of the German IFOR Contingent in Croatia, the first "out-of-area" mission of the German Bundeswehr.
In 1999 he was Commander of the NATO Multinational Brigade in the South of Kosovo, based in Prizren.
"When I arrived in 1999 I came to a completely devastated country. We were in Prizren, where I had my first assignment, and houses were burning every night. If you looked in the faces of the people then you could see fear and horror. The children had forgotten their laughter and we were awaiting an exceptionally cold winter."
"We are guests in this country, we behave as guests; we are not occupiers, we do not behave like occupiers […]. After a terrible time people have understood that violence is no way to the future, but above all people have learned that reconciliation will take time."
"Eight years later I have returned and I noted already, when flying in last year in August, that the world had fundamentally changed, at least superficially, when looking at it from above. There are the houses again, and the infrastructure is functioning. Children have a regulated everyday life. I notice that children are going to school, sometimes in three shifts. The universities are blossoming. One can feel an urge to get an education."
KFOR helicopters over Kosovo
Lieutenant General Kather joined the German Army 40 years ago. He studied at the Academy of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg, and then participated in missions in Spain. Afterwards he worked with the Ministry of Defence and was stationed at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he held the rank of Tank Brigadier General.