Aiming to develop a capability to support efforts of the international community in the provision of international peace and security a Republic of Azerbaijan undertook to set up well-trained and properly equipped peacekeeping units. Thus, a peacekeeping company within Azerbaijani Armed Forces was established in 1997 in order to be able to contribute in practical terms to the ongoing peacekeeping operations. In 2001, the peacekeeping company was developed into battalion level.
Cooperation with NATO through Partnership for Peace Program to a greater extent has helped to enhance peacekeeping capabilities of these forces and to train them in accordance with NATO standards and to increase the level of interoperability with the Allied forces. Currently more than 200 Azerbaijani peacekeepers are serving in three different international peace operations shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts from many other countries for the sake of peace and security.
Contributions to the ongoing peace operations
Kosovo was the first test ground for Azerbaijani peacekeeping forces. Since September 1999 peacekeeping platoon of Azerbaijani Armed Forces numbering 34 personnel as part of the Turkish peacekeeping battalion has been serving in Kosovo Force (KFOR) under the command of NATO. Currently the number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers constitute to 34 (one officer, one warrant officer, three sergeants and 29 soldiers). Participation in KFOR has improved further professional skills of Azerbaijani peacekeepers and ensured greater opportunities to get more closely acquainted with the command and control procedures of NATO and paved the way for contribution to future peace support operations.
Azerbaijan's determination to participate closely in the anti-terrorist coalition was followed by the decision to join with peacekeeping platoon to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) consisting of 21 soldiers, one officer and one NCO in November 2002 with the aim of contributing to provision of peace, security and order in Afghanistan. Currently total number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers contributing to ISAF is 22 (one officer, one warrant officer and 20 soldiers).
With a purpose to assist coalition forces in restoration of peace and security in Iraq, a peacekeeping company (a company consisting of 5 platoons under a single command - total number 151) of Azerbaijani Armed Forces was dispatched in August 2003.
Azerbaijani peacekeepers in KFOR, ISAF and Iraq have been thanked many times by the Operations Commanders for the professionalism, discipline and perfect fulfillment of duties.