Islamic extremists pose rising challenge to Norway, police intelligence agency says
Violence by Islamic extremists will pose a significant challenge to Norwegian security in coming years, partly due to the Nordic nation's participation in NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, the national police intelligence agency said Tuesday.
"Norway's contribution of forces to Afghanistan is currently a key reason that Norwegian interests are seen as legitimate targets by Islamic extremists," according an unclassified summary of the agency's annual assessment of threats to Norway.
Norway closed its Kabul embassy on Feb. 10 and Norway's state radio network NRK and other news media reported that its diplomats went into hiding in Afghanistan after being alerted to terrorism plot against its diplomatic station.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed that a terror threat prompted it to closed the embassy, but refused to give details. It also refused comment on the reports that the embassy had also been evacuated or say where the diplomats had gone, citing security concerns for the staff.
The threat followed a Jan. 15 attack by militants on a Kabul, Afghanistan, hotel in which a reporter for the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet was killed. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere was also there, but later said he did not think he was the target.
Norway has been singled out at least twice as a potential target by the al-Qaida terror network. It recently confirmed it would send more troops to the NATO force in Afghanistan starting next month. The deployment would increase the Norwegian contingent to about 700, including special forces.
In its summary released Tuesday the Norwegian Police Security Service agency said the threat to Norway, which has so far been spared serious terror attacks at home, has to be seen in a European perspective. It said increased radicalization in Norway "makes the threat picture less predictable" than is used to be.
The agency said the most common contribution to possible terrorism by people in Norway is likely to remain funding of extremists abroad.
However, it said experience from other European countries suggests that an increasing number of Muslims in Norway could adopt extremist views, "in the worst case supporting or participating in terror acts in Norway."
1) Islamic extremists pose rising challenge to Norway, police intelligence agency says