KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A top level U.N. Security Council delegation that included U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley visited Kabul and met with the Afghan authorities, the government and the United Nations said Monday.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office said he met with the U.N. team on Sunday and discussed Afghanistan's security situation and how to move the country forward. The statement says Ghani also requested continued U.N. pressure on neighboring Pakistan, which Kabul accuses of harboring Taliban insurgents. Islamabad denies the allegations.
According to the statement, along with Haley, representatives of China, Russia and Britain also took part in the meeting, which was not previously announced for security reasons.
President Donald Trump has taken a tough stand on Pakistan, which in turn has accused the United States of scapegoating Islamabad for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan where the war is now entering its 17th year.
The U.N. mission in Afghanistan — known as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan or UNAMA — said "the visit was an opportunity to reiterate the Security Council's support" for the efforts by the Afghan government and the people "to restore peace, stability and progress to the country" and to get a first-hand account of that process.
Ghani's statement said they also discussed "reconciliation, regional cooperation on the fight against terrorism, counter narcotics" and preparations for the upcoming parliamentary presidential elections in the country.
The meeting "stressed the need to view Afghanistan not as a threat to security in the region but as an important partner," the statement added.
"Council members reiterated their support for the government's reform initiatives, in particular to counter corruption and accelerate regional cooperation," the U.N. said.
In a separate report Monday, the government and Afghanistan's humanitarian agencies issued an appeal for $430 million from the international community for 2018. The funds would be used to bring life-saving assistance to 2.8 million Afghans, those most vulnerable and affected by conflict or natural disasters.
The appeal was announced during the launch of Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2018 to 2021.
"In many parts of Afghanistan, violence continues unabated and people need support more than ever," Toby Lanzer, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said in a statement.
Armed clashes in the past year were the highest in a decade and civilian casualties remained at near-record levels. More than 2 million people were directly affected by the conflict in 2017, with some 448,000 having to abandon their homes to save their lives. Also, more than 500,000 returned to Afghanistan from Iran, Pakistan and other countries.