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Nato: 2011: a year in review...
Nato: 2011: a year in review
The last year has been one of the busiest in NATO's history. From helping protect civilians fighting for freedom in Libya to continuing peace and security operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, the Alliance has had a key role in facing a broad range of challenges in 2011.
Protecting Libyan civilians

In Libya, when civilians protesting against the 42-year rule of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi came under threat, NATO Allies agreed to implement a UN-mandated No-Fly-Zone and an arms embargo, and forces were authorised to use “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

“Nothing is stronger than the desire for freedom,” says Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. “NATO played a vital role in protecting civilians and I'm proud of what we have achieved. [But], without the courage, the determination and the sacrifice of the Libyan people it would not have been possible. They fought for their freedom and they won.”
Transitioning Afghanistan

2011 also marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. NATO's mission in Afghanistan, which had harboured those responsible for the attacks, continues to be a top priority for the Alliance. Building a safe and secure Afghanistan, a country led by the Afghans and for the Afghans, is at the heart of this mission.

Since the summer of 2011, NATO has started handing over primary security responsibility to the Afghan government and the Afghan national security forces. Hundreds and thousands of police and military personnel have been trained as part of this enduring partnership and transition process. Following the November announcement by President Hamid Karzai that a further 18 areas will soon transition to Afghan security control, over half of the Afghan population will be protected by their national security forces.

“Transition is firmly on track. It is driven by the determination of the Afghan people and sustained by the courage of the Afghan National Security Forces and of ISAF,” says Secretary General Rasmussen. “We will keep our commitment to training and supporting the Afghan security forces throughout the transition process, and beyond.”
Looking to the future

Beyond these operational priorities, the Allies have successfully completed the training mission in Iraq which began in 2004, helping to develop a sustainable, multi-ethnic security force ready to meet the future security needs of Iraq's civilians.

Twelve years after the initial deployment of peacekeepers, the Allies remain committed to ensuring security in Kosovo, where KFOR is working together with the European Union's EULEX to build sustainable peace in the region.

As the year comes to a close, there are still many challenges facing NATO, but the success of 2011 gives hope for the future. The next year will be marked by the need to work together ever more efficiently and effectively, as well as May's Summit in Chicago which will take forward the Alliance's reform process. “These reforms will make NATO leaner, more flexible, and better able to deal with future challenges,” says Secretary General Rasmussen.
Avv. Antonino Sugamele

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