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UN Security Council considers trip to Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, United States, Jan 11, 2018 (AFP) – The U.N. Security Council is considering a visit to Afghanistan to get an up-close view of the conflict-ridden country and help develop a new strategy, Kazakhstan’s U.N. ambassador said Thursday.

U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster last week briefed ambassadors of the 15-member council in New York following a series of high-profile U.S. visits to Afghanistan, including Vice President Mike Pence last month.

“We think it’s important for Security Council members to get the update of the situation from the ground,” said Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov, the council’s president for this month.

“We would like them to feel the situation there and work with the Afghan government on what are the needs.”

No date was announced for the visit, which would be the first by the full council to Afghanistan in seven years.

President Donald Trump in August unveiled a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, vowing to deploy more troops, on top of the 11,000 already in the country, to train and advise Afghan security forces.

Afghanistan is expected to top the agenda when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev meets Trump next week at the White House before heading to New York to chair a council debate on the conflict on January 19.

The Kazakh ambassador called for “a more comprehensive approach” to Afghanistan that puts a stronger focus on development, and is not limited to boosting security.

Backed by U.S. forces, Afghanistan has been struggling to beat back the resurgent Taliban since the withdrawal of NATO combat forces at the end of 2014.

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