War on terror still to be won: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her country`s unpopular participation in Afghan conflict.

Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that the fight against terrorism has still to be won a decade on from the 9/11 attacks as she defended Germany`s unpopular participation in the Afghan conflict.

"Osama bin Laden is dead, but terrorism has not yet been defeated," Merkel said in her weekly video address.

She also defended Germany`s military role in the conflict in Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders were based at the time of the organisation`s attacks in New York and Washington on September 11. 2001.

"We must be prepared to fight" to defend democracy, Merkel said, adding that Germany would continue the fight against terrorism alongside its allies.

Germany forms the third-largest contingent of foreign troops in Afghanistan, with some 5,400 soldiers in the north under NATO command, despite polls showing a strong majority of the public opposed to its participation.

The German Parliament approved a 12-month extension of the unpopular Afghanistan mission in January, but with the proviso for the first time that troops start coming home from the end of 2011 if security allows.

Merkel also welcomed the wave of popular revolts against Arab regimes and said they were proof that "throughout the world people are fighting for freedom and want to build democracy".

"Freedom and democracy are the best answers to terrorism and threats," she said.

Bureau Report

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