NTC asks NATO to extend Libya presence

The New York Times reports: Libya’s interim leader said Wednesday that he had asked NATO to prolong its air patrols through December and add military advisers on the ground, despite his official declaration on Sunday of the country’s liberation after the killing of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

“We have asked NATO to stay until the end of the year, and it certainly has the international legitimacy to remain in Libya to protect the civilians from Qaddafi loyalists,” the interim leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council, said in an interview with the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera.

“Qaddafi still has supporters in neighboring countries and we fear those loyalists could be launching attacks against us and infiltrating our borders,” he said. “We need technical support and training for our troops on the ground. We also need communications equipment and we need aerial intelligence to monitor our borders.”

Mr. Abdel-Jalil was interviewed while attending a Libya aid conference in Doha, Qatar. He spoke as NATO was preparing within days to formally end its operations in Libya and as the country enters a treacherous new phase in its post-Qaddafi transformation.

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