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International Forces and UN PKO in East Timor
On August 30, 1999, a UN-mandated referendum for independence in East Timor was held, in which 78.5 percent of the electorate opted for independence. However, militias who opposed East Timor's independence caused devastating violence. Accordingly, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to grant installation of the "International Forces in East Timor (INTERFET)," and the UN Secretary General together with the government of Australia officially requested the ROK government's participation. In addition, the Indonesian government agreed to the deployment of the multinational forces and actively requested the participation of Asian nations including the ROK. To maintain security and restore order, the ROK government formed the 419-member Evergreen Unit, composed of 201 infantry troops and support elements such as transportation, supply, communications, and medical personnel. Since the Evergreen Unit initiated operations on October 22, 1999 in Lospalos, East Timor, Korean Battallion moved to Oeucci Enclave in Feb 2002. Currently, 8th contingent with 260 soldiers is working successfully in Oecussi, East Timor.
Activities of the Korean Medical Unit in Western Sahara
The Korean medical unit currently participating in the "UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)" started its mission in September 1994, when the very first delegation was dispatched from Korea. As of June 2002, 20 Koreans from the twelfth delegation are conducting the mission. The Korean medical unit is the sole unit within MINSURO and performs the following duties: basic medical support to MINURSO personnel; evacuating severely injured or sick patients to larger hospitals; conducting 24 hour standby for emergency patient treatment; disinfecting the MINURSO Headquarters and inspecting both water and food hygiene. Our personnel have proudly provided faithful medical care to nearly 35,000 UN personnel for the past eight years.
Military Observer Activities
As of August 2002 the ROK military has dispatched nine officers to the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and five to the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) as military observers. Our dispatched officers serve under the supervision of the local command and perform such tasks as monitoring ceasefires, patrolling, inspection, report, and arbitration.
ROK Evergreen Unit in Somalia
The Evergreen unit (engineer battalion) to Somalia was the first-ever ROK military unit to take part in the UN-led peace keeping operations.
Since its commencement in June 30, 1993, the battalion consisted of 504 men (annually rotated) took part in repairing roads and assisting the residences of Somalia. During their deployment the Evergreen unit put in 2,700 men and 1,300 pieces of equipment into a construction effort to repair the road linking Balad and Zohar. Additionally, the ROK unit worked with the US troops to construct the bypass road from Balad to Afgoa.
ROK Engineer Battalion to Angola
The 549 troops of the ROK engineer unit deployed to Angola in October of 1995 received a lot of compliment for its efforts in successfully finishing the bridge construction, which was awarded to them by the UN, and for its active participation in the humanitarian relief operations.
Also during their deployment, the engineer unit contributed to the effectiveness of the UN operations by swiftly restoring 8 bridges in areas such as the Chipipa and two airfield in areas including Uambo.
Dasan / Dong-ui Unit in Afghanistan
On September 11, 2001, a round of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington marked the beginning of the global war against terror. The U.S. swiftly deployed its troops to Afghanistan and after two months, the Taliban retreated out of the capital city Kabul. This necessiated the establishment of a transitional government, which took place on December 5, with Hamid Karzai as the acting leader. Since December 12, when the UN Secruity Council unanimously agreeded upon sending its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghanistan, various operations have been carried out throughout the country.
The ROK military, to join the global war against terror and to strengthen its alliance with the U.S., deployed its troops to Afghanistan.
As early as September 17, the South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung had already promised President Bush to support the U.S. initiative.
Then on December 5, the deployment of troops - including the medical unit, the engineer battalion, and the air force transportation unit - was finalized with the consent of the Korean parliament.
Zaytun Division in Iraq
On March 20, 2003, the U.S. began its attack on Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. A few months later, on September 4, the U.S. requested for support and participation from countries including South Korea. After a period of consideration, on December 23, the South Korean President finalized the decision to deploy troops to Iraq and active preparations began immediately. Then from September 3 to 20, 2004, the ROK dispatch unit landed in Arbil, Iraq under Operation "Pabalma", and till today is faithfully taking part in Arbil's reconstruction and in maintaining peace and order in the area. More information can be found in