Countering and Preventing Terrorism

NATO Delivers: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  • 18 May. 2012 - 07 Jul. 2012
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  • Last updated: 18 May. 2012 19:04

Terrorism is a global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion. It is therefore a challenge that the international community must tackle together.

Slovak engineers search for mines and explosives buried in the ground in order to clear areas slated for development in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Over 50 percent more IEDs and mines are found and cleared by coalition troops than explode but the insurgents continue to rely on them as their main weapon in the campaign. The bombs take many civilian lives and over 60 percent of the civilian casualties caused by insurgents result from indiscriminate IED explosions.

The fight against terrorism is high on NATO’s agenda as it poses a real and serious threat to the security and safety of the Alliance and its members.

NATO’s First Counter-terrorism Operation
The day after the attacks of September 11, 2001, NATO Allies expressed their solidarity with the people of the United States by invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty,  NATO’s collective defence clause, which states an attack on one Ally is an attack upon all Allies.  In the days following the attacks, seven NATO AWACS radar aircraft helped patrol the skies over the United States; in total 830 crew members from 13 NATO countries flew over 360 sorties.  Immediately following 9/11, NATO members also initiated Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s only article 5 operation on anti-terrorism.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is the largest to date.  The main focus of the UN-mandated, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) remains the provision of security for Afghanistan. Today, ISAF conducts most of its security operations partnered with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and assists in their development into professional and sustainable army and police. Currently, more than a quarter of the world’s countries are participating in ISAF – a true measure of the unwavering international commitment to Afghanistan’s secure, stable and democratic future.

The fundamental reason for ISAF’s presence is to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.