New York, NY (BBN) – The Security Council on Wednesday extended the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for another year, welcoming the agreement between the country and troop-contributing States to gradually transfer key security responsibilities to the Afghan Government by the end of 2014.

In a unanimous resolution, the Council urged United Nations Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources to ISAF, and to continue to support security and stability in Afghanistan, a UN statement said.

The Council also welcomed the Enduring Partnership Declaration signed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Afghan Government in Lisbon last year, particularly the intention to provide sustained support to improve Afghanistan’s capacity to tackle continued threats to its security, stability and integrity.

The 15-member UN body encouraged ISAF and other partners to continue training, mentoring and empowering the Afghan national security forces to accelerate progress towards “self-sufficient, sustainable, accountable and ethnically balanced Afghan security forces providing security and ensuring the rule of law throughout the country.”

It welcomed the increasing leadership role played by the Afghan authorities in security responsibilities throughout the country, and stressed the importance of supporting the planned expansion of the Afghan army and the Afghan police.

The Council called upon ISAF and NATO’s senior civilian representative to continue to work in close consultation with the Afghan Government and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, in accordance with a Security Council resolution earlier this year, as well as with the Operation Enduring Freedom coalition in the implementation of the ISAF mandate.

It expressed serious concern over the security situation in the country, particular the ongoing violence and acts of terror by the Taliban, Al-Qaida, other illegal armed groups and criminals, including those involved in the narcotics trade, and the strong links between terrorism and illicit drugs.

The Council voiced concern over the high number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, particularly women and children, the majority of which it said were caused by Taliban, Al-Qaida and other violent and extremist groups.

BBN/SSR/AD-13Oct11-11:13 am (BST)