The United Nations has played a “vital role” in Afghanistan and US wants the world body to continue its “multifaceted” role there.

“We think the United Nations has played and must continue to play a vital role in Afghanistan. This role needs to continue and we have every confidence that it will continue,” US envoy to the UN Susan Rice told reporters here.

Pointing that the UN had a “multifaceted” role of providing humanitarian assistance, coordinating development as well as assisting in political activities in Afghanistan -- Rice underlined the urgency of safeguarding and protecting the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“We think that the personnel of UNAMA need and deserve the additional resources to ensure their security, to enable them to ramp up their presence and to expand it to new provinces of Afghanistan,” she said.

Along with the announcement of troop increase in his speech at the West Point Military Academy, President Obama said that the US would partner with the United Nations to pursue “a more effective civilian strategy so that the government can take advantage of improved security.”

However, the ability of UN to assist in the US strategy is being questioned since the recent attacks on its guest house in Kabul that left five staffers dead and led to redeployment of UN personnel inside and out of Afghanistan.

Responding to such concerns, Rice said “we will work most immediately to ensure that UNAMA has the resources it needs and security component.”

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, after Obama’s speech, welcomed the US strategy on Afghanistan particularly its emphasis to boost “civilian efforts” to strengthen and transfer more responsibility to domestic authorities.

“Institution-building is a long-term but necessary process that will ultimately ensure the sustainability of the international community’s joint efforts in Afghanistan,” Ban said in a statement.

Obama has announced that 30,000 US troops would be sent to Afghanistan in 2010 bringing the total of US troops in the war-torn region to 100,000.

However, deep scepticism remains about the ability of the US to train Afghan troops and police forces whose quality and quantity remain woefully inadequate, and strengthen domestic institutions in a country where the government is riddled with corruption.

Rice said the additional troops in partnership with NATO forces “will create space and time to enhance governance” and “accelerate the training of Afghan national security forces,” and only after 18 months that US forces would begin to transfer “certain areas” to Afghan authorities.

“It is intended to convey to Afghan government and people that it is their country and their responsibility,” Rice said, adding we do not intend to be there indefinitely, this is not an open ended commitment... “We are not trying to build a perfect nation.”

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