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UN Security Council Considers Visit To Afghanistan

Afghan security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on January 5.

The president of the UN Security Council says members are considering a visit to Afghanistan to get a better understanding of the war-torn country's prospects and needs.

"We think it's important for Security Council members to get the update of the situation from the ground," Kazakh Ambassador Kairat Umarov said on January 11.

Umarov did not give any date for the visit, which he said would be the first to Afghanistan by the full council in seven years.

"We would like them to feel the situation there and work with the Afghan government on what the needs are," said Umarov, the 15-member Security Council's president for this month.

Earlier this week, U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster briefed ambassadors of the Security Council in New York following a series of high-profile U.S. visits to Afghanistan.

Umarov said the members of the council agree on the need for a "more comprehensive approach" that puts a stronger focus on development in Afghanistan and is not limited to increasing security.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled in August his new strategy for the South Asia region, under which the United States has deployed 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan to train, advise, and assist and to conduct counterterrorism missions.

The United States currently has about 14,000 uniformed personnel in the country.

The White House says Trump and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev will discuss Afghanistan among other things when they meet at the White House on January 16.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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