The Macedonian Army has not just been participating in operations outside the country for 16 years, but has spent half of its expedition internship as one of the leading countries according to the percentage of armed forces engaged in combat operations outside of its own territory, according to data from the Office of Public Relations of the General Staff of the ARM.

ARM began its expeditionary experience in 2002 with a symbolic contingent of two officers in the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) operation in Afghanistan. However, since 2006, the Macedonian army has been sending more than 4% of the total army members out of the country’s territory, a percentage that was reduced just recently in 2015, when the ISAF operation ended.

At the peak of its activity, in 2008, the ARM had 444 members in four missions across the world, led by NATO, the EU or the United Nations,  nearly 7% of the total number at that time.

The ARM holds several other statistical records for its operations abroad. In 2008, with missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Macedonia was the third country, after the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the proportion of troops in combat missions outside of its own territory. According to forces deployed in those two operations, the United States is ranked at the top, the United Kingdom accounted for approximately 6%, while the ARM was approximately 4% of the armed forces.

In comparison, with the exception of the United States and the United Kingdom, NATO members in combat operations averaged approximately 1% of their armed forces.

In 2010, the ARM became the third country, again behind the US and Britain, according to the percentage of soldiers engaged in the ISAF mission. That year, 407 Macedonian soldiers, or around 6% of the number of the ARM took part in the mission in Afghanistan.

The same year, official NATO statistics ranked Macedonia at the top of the list of participants in ISAF, this time by the number of troops compared to the country’s population. On that list, Macedonia was fourth, after the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Statistically, to date, half of the ARM has already participated in missions. According to Defense Minister Radmila Šekerinska Jankovska, more than 4,000 soldiers have taken part in missions and operations so far.

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This text was prepared within the framework of the project “Supporting democratic values and changes in society through journalism” financed by the Government of the United Kingdom, with the support of the British Embassy in Skopje. Opinions and attitudes outlined in this section do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the British Embassy / British Government.