It is time to start planning for what to do in Libya after leader Moammar Gadhafi's departure "because Gadhafi's reign of terror is coming to an end," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday.
Rasmussen, talking with reporters in Brussels, insisted that NATO bombing had saved lives in Libya.
Pressed by reporters on why airstrikes will be able to dislodge Gadhafi when "the history of the last 30 years" shows that air attacks alone do not win wars, Rasmussen offered no clear answer, saying only, "We have no intentions to put troops on the ground."
He said the alliance had agreed to extend its military mission for another 90 days past the end of June and had the resources it needed to keep up the campaign for that long. But he refused to predict how long it would take, saying: "We will keep up the pressure for as long as it takes to bring this crisis to an early conclusion."
Gadhafi vowed Tuesday that "we will not surrender," even as NATO airstrikes bombarded his compound in Tripoli.
"I am now speaking as planes and bombs fall around me," Gadhafi said in a live audio broadcast on state television. "But my soul is in God's hand. We will not think about death or life. We will think about the call of duty."
At least three explosions rocked Tripoli late Tuesday night; it was not immediately clear what they hit. Earlier in the day, NATO targeted a military base and Gadhafi's compound, state television reported. A spokesman for the Libyan government said that at least 31 people were killed, including a number of civilians, and dozens more were wounded after 60 missiles struck the capital city.FULL STORY