New York, NY (BBN)- The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously extended the mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for another year and called for it to be strengthened in the face of increased violence and terrorism from the Taliban, Al-Qaida and drug smugglers.

The 12-month extension begins on 13 October, a UN press statement said.

The ISAF, which now has 47,600 personnel on the ground, was established after United States-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001 to help the then-interim authorities maintain security across the impoverished nation.

In Monday’s resolution the 15-member body recognized “the need to further strengthen ISAF to meet all its operational requirements, and in this regard calls upon Member States to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources,” according to the statement.

It expressed serious concern with the high number of civilian casualties resulting from the fighting. While recognizing ISAF’s efforts to minimize this risk, it called on the Force “to take additional robust efforts” by continuously reviewing tactics and procedures and conducting after-action reviews in cooperation with the Afghan Government.

The Council called on all Afghan parties and groups to engage in peaceful political dialogue and in socio-economic development and to avoid resorting to violence including through the use of illegal armed groups.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-23September08-5:09PM (BST)