The US will open a base in Albania for special operations forces, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Thursday.
The new facility will serve as a base for US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), which is based out of Stuttgart, Germany. SOCEUR will deploy forces to the new base in Albania on a rotational basis.
It’s not clear what role SOCEUR will play in the Balkans nation. In a press release, SOCEUR said the base will “provide increased interoperability with our Albanian allies, important access to transportation hubs in the Balkans and greater logistical flexibility.”
Maj. Gen. David Tabor, the head of SOCEUR, said Albania was chosen for the base because the location gives SOCEUR the “ability to rapidly move and train within the Balkans, in close coordination with other allied and partner forces.” In neighboring Kosovo, the US has about 600 troops that have been there since the 1999 NATO bombing campaign.
Albania officially joined NATO in 2009, and the military alliance frequently holds military exercises in the country. In May 2021, the US Army led exercises in Albania that US officials said were the largest concentration of military vehicles in the country since World War II.