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New York - The UN Security Council on Tuesday renewed for another year the mandate of its mission in Afghanistan as the country prepares for elections in 2014 and tackles security issues.
The 15-nation council unanimously extended until March 2014 the mission that has a staff of about 500 international workers and close to 2,000 Afghans.
Its resolution said that the decision to maintain the mission has taken “full account of the transition process and in full support of Afghanistan's full assumption of leadership and ownership in the security, governance and development areas.”
One of the mission's tasks is to help organize presidential and provincial council elections next year amid security concerns as the United States has decided to withdraw its remaining 34,000
troops by February.
The US urged Kabul to hold “inclusive and credible” presidential elections, saying the democratic process is crucial for Afghanistan's security, future and sustained international aid.
“The results of the election must produce an outcome that is legitimately accepted by the Afghan people,” US ambassador Susan Rice told the council.
She urged the country's independent electoral commission to make public the dates of the presidential election while the Afghan parliament is working on a permanent electoral law for the country.
Afghanistan's UN ambassador, Zahir Tanin, told the council that Kabul was striving to strengthen national ownership and leadership during the transition period, and Afghan forces will take over the security for areas in which 97 per cent of the population lives. - Sapa-dpa