Nato may train Libya security forces
04 June 2013, 08:59
Brussels - Nato defence ministers concerned about the growing
presence of al-Qaeda linked rebels in southern Libya will this week
discuss the possibility of training Libyan security forces, US defence
officials said on Monday.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
requested the assistance at a meeting last week with Nato Secretary
General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who raised the issue with US President
Barack Obama in Washington last Friday.
"That was something the
president and the secretary general talked at length about, about the
way the Nato alliance could perhaps take on a greater role in training
for the Libyan security forces," said a senior US official on Defence
Secretary Chuck Hagel's plane en route to Brussels.
meeting of Nato defence ministers will be Hagel's first as defense
secretary, although prior to becoming the Pentagon chief he chaired the
Atlantic Council, a top think-tank on issues important to the Western
The meeting will consider the scope of Nato support and
training of Afghan forces after the full transfer of security
authority from the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force at
the end of 2014. The group will also hold its first meeting on
Officials are not expected to decide on the size of the post-2014 Afghan deployment this week.
defence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said not
locking in a number now would give Nato a chance to see how Afghan
forces perform this year while they are in the lead for combat
operations, and then adjust the number accordingly.
Libya, Nato played a critical role in toppling Muammar Gaddafi two
years ago by imposing a no-fly zone and using air power to try to
prevent his forces attacking civilian areas held by rebels.
Gaddafi's overthrow left Libya with a security vacuum that the new
administration has found it difficult to fill. Now, many al
Qaeda-linked Islamist militants are believed to have moved into lawless
areas of southern Libya after being driven out of northern Mali by a
Neighbouring Niger has said suicide raids
that killed 25 people last month at an army base and desert uranium
mine run by France's Areva were launched from Libya, something Libya
Zeidan nevertheless saw fit to ask the alliance for technical support and training for Libyan security forces.
defence officials said it made sense to consider using the expertise
that Nato had gained during its involvement in training Afghan forces.
they stressed that discussions were in the early stages, that it was
unclear where any training would take place, and that Nato countries
were not yet being asked to make commitments.