Albanian Soldier on NATO Mission Killed in Mine Explosion in Latvia

Second lieutenant Zarife Hasanaj died after a mine exploded in a NATO base in Latvia today. Major Klodian Tanushi and Sergeant Julian Kapaj were wounded.

The Chief of Staff of the Albanian Army Bardhyl Kollçaku said the explosion occurred while the group was dismantling mines following a military exercise by a NATO member country.

Albanian military staff are part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) – a defense and deterrence military presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Albanian soldiers are located in Latvia. The EFP was agreed in the 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw after Russia had occupied Crimea and made several military incursions into Ukraine.

The current Latvia presence is led by Canada and it includes armies of Albania, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Zarife Hasanaj, 32, is the second soldier dying while on a NATO mission. In 2012, Captain Feti Vogli, 31, was killed in an attack by gunmen in Afghanistan.