The United Nations Security Council on Monday renewed the mandate of its mission in Afghanistan for another year, emphasising its "central and impartial role" in building peace and stability in the troubled nation.
The mission, with 115 international and more than 300 local staff, will lead international efforts to assist the government in Kabul, including the organisation of general elections in August.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the mandate renewal. He will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting Friday in Moscow to discuss Afghan security issues that are impacting Central Asia, as well as the conference on Afghanistan at The Hague March 31.
The 15-nation council asked its mission to strengthen cooperation with the NATO-led international security force (ISAF), which is composed of about 55,000 troops from the 26 NATO countries and 15 non-NATO countries.
Ban said in a report on the Afghan situation that there are reasons to believe that security will worsen in 2009.
"A judicious deployment of additional international troops, with its primary goal being the security of the Afghan people, will be a welcome development," Ban said.
President Barack Obama has decided to increase US military presence in Afghanistan, moving troops from Iraq while drawing down the US involvement in that country.