BRUSSELS - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Wednesday the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as a "significant success" in efforts to fight global terrorism.
"You may ask what does that mean to NATO and what does that mean to our mission in Afghanistan?" he asked speaking at his monthly press conference at the NATO headquarters this afternoon.
"And my message is clear. We will stay the course. Our reason for being in Afghanistan is clear and our strategy will not change. NATO allies and partners will continue the mission to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for extremism," he said.
Rasmussen noted that the "democratic upheavals across North Africa and the Middle East show a clear rejection of extremism and indiscriminate attacks against civilians." He stressed that NATO will continue positive engagement and cooperation with Pakistan in the fight against extremism and terrorism.
Rasmussen said the transition process to hand over security to Afghans in their country remains on track and will be completed by 2014.
NATO has some 130,000 troops under its ISAF mission in Afghanistan.
Turning to Libya, he said that since the alliance took command of all military operations over a month ago significant progress has been made in taking out the military capabilities of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
"We are undermining the regime's ability to command and control those brutal attacks from bunkers and communication centres. We are reducing the Libyan regime's ability to sustain, supply and reinforce its forces in the field," he noted.
Rasmussen reiterated that NATO will continue its operations in Libya until three objectives are achieved, attacks and threats against civilians must cease, all pro-Gaddafi forces return to their bases and free and unhindered humanitarian access is guaranteed. The NATO chief said he will participate in the meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya in Rome tomorrow and called for setting up of a financing mechanism to help the Libyan opposition. (KUNA)