Challenges ahead as Afghanistan prepares to assume full security responsibility

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is greeted by Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, at a conference in Bonn, Germany

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged to continue to support Afghanistan as foreign forces prepare to leave the country by 2014.

Mr. Ban was speaking at an international conference in Bonn, Germany, on the challenges regarding the handover of security from international forces to Afghan forces.

Over the past decade, the work of the United Nations in Afghanistan has made a difference in the lives of civilians, according to Ban.

Almost five million Afghan refugees have been assisted in their return home, and more than seven million children are enrolled in schools with the support of the UN. The quality of health care has also improved, and more women are empowered, Ban added.

But security remains a huge challenge, he warned.

"As we look ahead, we must also ensure that the protection of civilians remains at the fore.  A major share of civilian deaths and casualties have been caused by civilian deaths and casualties have been caused by anti-government forces. And all such killings, whether targeted or indiscriminate, are unacceptable and must stop."

Duration: 24''

The UN chief called for a long-term engagement from the international community for a successful transition.

He added that success will also require national reconciliation.

Filed under Today's News.
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