- Title: USA: Nations seek greater United Nations role in Afghanistan
- Date: 24th September 2007
- Summary: (BN14) UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (AGENCY POOL) REPORTER TAKING NOTES
- Embargoed: 9th October 2007 11:56
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA35E57KAX49G5V67XNHALDLXWD
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: After a high-level meeting on Afghanistan at the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has asked member states for the world body to play a greater role in the country's future.
Key countries involved in Afghanistan urged the United Nations on Sunday (September 23) to expand its role there, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said continuing violence kept the world body from operating in some areas.
An 18-nation meeting at U.N. headquarters also pressed Afghan President Hamid Karzai, heading Kabul's delegation, to promote national reconciliation through an "inclusive political dialogue" with the country's turbulent factions.
Ban called the meeting of foreign ministers and top diplomats from Afghanistan's neighbours and key NATO countries to seek increased backing for Afghan and U.N. efforts to bring peace and stability after years of intermittent fighting.
Since U.S.-backed forces overthrew Afghanistan's Taliban rulers in late 2001, Karzai's government has struggled to keep control, faced with a resurgent Taliban, independent-minded warlords and rising drug production.
About 50,000 foreign troops are deployed there, including a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, and separately led U.S.
Ban told reporters the three-hour meeting that "Again this morning there were requests and strong desire on the part of member states that the United Nations do more."
"This is what we have been doing and will continue to do so, closely monitoring the security situations there," he added.
He said the number of U.N. offices in Afghanistan had been recently increased by nine to a total of 17.
Ban said the meeting also agreed that "there should be more efforts by President Karzai and Afghan leaders in promoting inclusive political dialogue for national reconciliation."
Karzai told reporters his government was attempting to "bring back to the fold" Taliban supporters who were not part of what he called terrorist networks.
Karzai was asked how he could identify which Taliban supporters he could work with.
"Well it's easy to identify the good from the bad. Deeds will tell and deeds do tell so that identification is simple," said Karzai.
An Afghan presidential spokesman said last week Kabul was ready for peace talks with the Taliban but would not accept preconditions demanded by the Islamist rebels, such as the withdrawal of all foreign troops.
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