Dukagjini Operational Zone
Development of fighting in Dukagjin has been very large. But, since in this part of Kosovo had acted initially a part of FARK led by Tahir Zema, was not easy to organize the war and its strategic alignment. Commander of the Dukagjin Operational Zone was Ramush Haradinaj. Situation and circumstances in this area where always difficult as a result of the on-going destructiveness of Tahir Zema. These parts together with the territory of Anadrinia, have been two main arteries that supplied our army with weapons throughout Kosovo.
Incorrect action of Tahir Zema, which led to divisions and fratricidal war and later also lead to massive desertion and surrender of over 4000 different weapons, that has brought a lot of damage. Many weapons were thrown or hid, many returned to Albania. Such action becomes even more painful when it is known how the weapons were brought in Kosovo, haw many effort and blood was shed for them. Therefore it is not difficult to know that unjust action of Tahir Zema caused the loss for our war as well as his call for "evacuation" of the population. Where "evacuation" was actually emptying the Dukagjini area and weakening of the armed resistance.
Dukagjini valley especially villages of Deçan’s municipality were constantly bloody arena of fighting of Liberation Army between the enemy killing machinery. Clearly, the main objective of the enemy was the termination of the artery that supplied weapons to the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Hospital of KLA was initially located in Shqiponjë (Jablanica). Even in those not such good conditions, the hospital was well regulated. The doctor and medical technicians showed care for the injured.
At the meeting of KLA Headquarters held on 23.07.1998, the following appointees have been made for Dukagjini Operational Zone: as commander was appointed Ramush Haradinaj, Deputy Commander Nazmi Ibrahim, and Chief of Staff Sali Veseli. In the same day HQ decides to transfer officers: 1. Tahir Zema, 2. Rrustem Berisha, 3. Naim Maloku, 4. Ismet Ibishi. After the first wave of the offensive in Drenica, a delegation composed of Hashim Thaqi, Bislim Zyrapi, Rexhep Selimi and Ramë Buja will travel to Dukagjini. There they learned about changes that had occurred in the Dukagjini Zone.
Commander with hidden ballot was chosen Tahir Zemaj and Ramush Haradinaj, although the issue of appointment of commander of the meeting was not the issue of peasant crowds, but it was a matter of military hierarchy. No matter how things had leaked, members of the KLA Headquarters, made it known to Tahir Zemaj that Kosovo Liberation Army has a master, that there was and order and hierarchy, the Headquarters will not allow bargaining between different individuals, but it was body that appoints and dismiss.
By seeing the determination of the KLA Headquarters, Tahir Zemaj could not realize his purpose and in very crucial moments, takes his final steps: unravels one part of army in Dukagjini, where he was able, delivers a large number of arms and a considerable number of soldiers fled to Albania, and also spreads defeatism among the villages of Dukagjini. In addition to these damages, Tahir Zema has made another three major damage for Kosovo Liberation Army, such are:
- Brought the Army of Dukagjini Zone in quite symbolic number compared with previous;
- By reducing to a minimum the number of soldiers he finally closed one of the two main arteries of supply; and
- Has left a continuous hostile spirit in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army, especially in the district of Deçani and Peja, which unfortunately continues to be felt even today.
After these damages inflicted by Tahir Zema, Dukagjin Zone has recovered itself again, will help from other parts of Kosovo and the direct intervention of Headquarters of the KLA. So, Ramush will receive also the logistical and human assistance and even hierarchical in respect of the commander of the Dukagjini Operational Zone.