The United Nations Security Council today extended the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) until the end of 2014, when it is expected that the force will draw down and the Government of Afghanistan will assume full responsibility for security throughout the country.
A transition of responsibility for security in the country’s 34 provinces from ISAF, which is led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to Afghan forces is already underway. Afghan authorities are also working towards taking greater ownership of development in a country that faces numerous challenges.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council welcomed the agreement between the Afghan Government and countries contributing to ISAF to transfer full security responsibility to the authorities by the end of 2014, and the ongoing implementation of the transition process since July 2011.
The 15-member body also called on UN Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to ISAF and to continue to pursue their efforts to support security, stability and transition in Afghanistan.
In addition, the Council welcomed the strong commitment of the Government to further develop, with the support of ISAF nations, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) which are “governed by the Afghan Constitution and capable of providing peace, security and stability to all Afghans operating under effective civilian leadership and in accordance with the rule of law, and respecting and promoting human rights, including the rights of women, and capable of contributing to the region’s security through the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.”
It welcomed the increasing leadership role played by the Afghan authorities in security responsibilities throughout the country, as well as the “substantial progress” made in the expansion and capability of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. It stressed the importance of further boosting the professionalism of these institutions.
The United Nations has pledged to continue its strong support to the Afghan Government up to and beyond the 2014 deadline for the Government’s assumption of responsibility, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for efforts to ensure the transition leads to a stable, prosperous and safe future for the country’s people.
In March, the Council extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until 19 March 2014, and called on the world body, with the support of the international community, to back the Government’s so-called National Priority Programmes as it goes through the process of taking full control of security, governance and development.