NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gives a news conference May 20 to address the pull out in Afghanistan during the NATO Summit at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. Rasmussen will serve a fifth year at the helm of NATO. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty)
BRUSSELS— NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Oct. 3 won a fifth year at the helm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, leaving him in place to help oversee a difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Following a process of consultations, Allies approved today Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s fifth year in office, thus extending his mandate until July 31st 2014,” the alliance said in a statement.
Rasmussen, 59, served as Danish prime minister from 2001-2009 and is NATO’s 12th secretary-general.
The statement announcing the extension of his single four-year mandate said the allies would support Rasmussen “in his dedicated work to carry forward NATO’s tasks, missions and objectives, based on consensual allied decisions.”
The alliance, headquartered in Brussels, was set up in 1949 as the United States bolstered Western Europe at the onset of the Cold War with the then-communist Soviet Union Its now 28 member states vow to defend one another in case of external attack and in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, NATO intervened to force the Taliban from Kabul as part of the global war on terror.
It had been expected that Rasmussen would get an extension as NATO prepares for the difficult process of handing over security responsibility to Kabul and withdrawing from Afghanistan by 2014.
On Oct. 1, the secretary-general said he would finalize next year the main lines of NATO’s future mission in Afghanistan so as to be well prepared for the withdrawal and handover.
NATO defense ministers will meet in Brussels next week to discuss the alliance’s role in Afghanistan after 2014, which will likely focus on training, advice and assistance.
NATO heads agreed in May at a Chicago summit to launch an assistance mission post-2014.