Military


Operation Pacific Haven
Quick Transit

In August 1996 the most serious fighting to date broke out in northern Iraq between the PUK and KDP, ending a US-brokered cease-fire. An escalation of skirmishes between the two main Kurdish factions, the KDP and PUK, occurred between 17-22 August 1996 prompting the KDP to make an unexpected and dangerous move. On 31 August KDP leadership "made a deal with the devil" as it invited the Iraqi army to attack the city of Irbil, under control by the PUK. Claiming that the PUK was receiving active Iranian support, the KDP leader, Marsoud Barzani, appealed to Baghdad for assistance. Saddam Hussein launched his forces into the "Provide Comfort" zone. They quickly turned the tide in favor of the KDP.

The attack between the Kurdish groups placed the US and other coalition members into a very uncomfortable predicament. On 2 September, the CTF pulled the few remaining personnel left in northern Iraq and launched Operation DESERT STRIKE against Iraqi military targets in retaliation to the attack on Irbil. Additional operations, QUICK TRANSITS I-II evacuated and resettled some US friendly Kurds from Northern Iraq to the US.

CTF Provide Comfort assisted the US Department of State in evacuating pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq. The task force brought the Kurds to Incirlik AB where the refugees boarded airliners destined for Guam. A total of 2,106 pro-US Kurds were evacuated from northern Iraq to Guam (nicknamed Pacific Haven, also called Quick Transit I) between 15 and 18 Sepember 1996. Quick Transit II evacuated of 601 additional pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq on 21 and 22 Oct 1996. Quick Transit III evacuated 3,783 additional pro-US Kurds from northern Iraq between 4 and 16 Dec 1996. The last Quick Transit mission signaled the end of the humanitarian effort in Iraq.

Quick Transit

Name

Dates

Kurds Evacuated

Quick Transit I

15-18 September 1996

2,106

Quick Transit II

15-22 October 1996

604

Quick Transit III

7-13 December 1996

3,783

 

Total:

6,493

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