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Killing terrorists is not enough, says NATO top official in Prague

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Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) – It is not enough to kill terrorists but non-military strategies also have to be used in the countries from which the threat comes, General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, told the Prague Insecurity Conference on Thursday.

The non-military strategies include training of local armed forces and provision of development aid to help stabilise society in crisis regions.

He said most security threats that NATO has been facing are posed by militant extremist organisations that try to carry out attacks in the territory of NATO member states.

Pavel said NATO must deter these organisations which plan and carry out attacks against people in the allied countries and resist them.

The extremist groups take advantage of the instable situation in the countries around Europe, he said.

Apart from terrorist threats, NATO considers the ambitions of Russia one of the main challenges for its collective security, Pavel said.

Moscow often uses non-military instruments such as fake news and propaganda to achieve military goals and NATO reacts to this, he said.

“We adapt the military strategy so that it can face hybrid threats, including cyber threats,” Pavel said.

Jan Havranek, from the office of NATO Secretary General, told the conference that it turns out that NATO member states are gradually learning how to react to misinformation campaigns.

“Fake news are a serious problem and NATO has been dealing with it,” he said.

“We took a lesson from the events in the USA. Before the German elections this year, there were fears that Russia would try to interfere like it did in the United States, but it did not succeed,” Havranek said.

He did not say whether fake news had any influence on the Czech general election held in October. He said there was an apparent tendency to downplay some security threats in the Czech Republic.

General Pavel has been heading the NATO Military Committee since 2015. He was Czech chief-of-staff in 2012-15.

The participants in the two-day conference on the global security situation, its impact on diplomacy and hybrid wars include former European commissioner Stefan Fule, former Italian defence minister Giampaolo di Paola and Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, First Assistant to NATO Secretary General.

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