Afghanistan must "aggressively" tackle corruption and lawlessness while focusing on the regional aspect of an insurgency threatening to unravel progress, a UN team said.
The 10-nation Security Council mission told reporters on Wednesday at the end of a four-day visit it was concerned by the deadly Taliban-led insurgency that posed a "serious threat" to reconstruction and nation-building.
"Yet the mission believes that the storm is being weathered. The work on rebuilding Afghanistan is continuing," said the head of the delegation, Kenzo Oshima from Japan.
Nonetheless, "in 2006 the insurgency, illegal narcotics production, corruption and problems of governance have all left their marks and to some extent damaged public confidence," he said.
Afghanistan's world-leading production of illegal opium reached a record high this year despite a British-led counter-narcotics programme, while corruption is rife with little to show for an Italian-led judicial reform process.
The Central Asian country was a ruin by the time the Taliban were driven from power in 2001 with its security forces and government structures destroyed, private militias and warlords running amok and a social fabric in shreds.
Oshima said Afghanistan had had to rise from "below deep negatives" but there were achievements.
He cited development work, a "flowering" parliament and efforts to review appointments to government.