UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday stressed the importance of credible elections amid concern over the lack of security in the country.
In a presidential statement, the council underscored the importance of continued progress on electoral reform and toward the holding of credible and inclusive parliamentary elections in 2018 and presidential elections in 2019.
It commended the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN development Programme for their support in this area and encouraged them to intensify their support to the Afghan electoral management bodies.
The Security Council reiterated its concern over the continuing security threats posed by terrorist groups, violent and extremist groups, illegal armed groups, criminals, and those involved in the production, trafficking or trade of narcotics.
The council noted the potential threats of the Afghan issue to the region and called upon all states to effectively implement all relevant Security Council resolutions, including those relating to counterterrorism, and to strengthen their international and regional security cooperation to enhance information sharing, border control, law enforcement and criminal justice to better counter the threats posed, including from returning foreign terrorist fighters from Iraq and Syria.
It recognized that there can be no purely military solution to Afghanistan, underlined the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for the long-term prosperity and stability, and expressed full support to the Afghan government to achieve peace and reconciliation.
The council stressed the importance of advancing regional, inter-regional and international cooperation to achieve long-term peace, stability and sustainable development in Afghanistan and Central Asia and supports the joint efforts of countries of the region toward the enhancement of a zone of peace, cooperation and prosperity.
It reiterated the importance of increasing the full and effective participation and leadership of women in decision-making, and the importance of integrating gender perspectives across all discussions pertinent to sustaining peace in Afghanistan.
The Security Council stressed the need to strengthen policies and mechanisms in Afghanistan to empower women politically and economically, to increase the number of women in the security forces in an environment conducive to women's safety and development, and to mitigate violence against women by supporting the provision of services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
The council underlined the importance of paying due attention to child protection concerns within peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan and called on all parties to take the necessary measures to do so.
It also welcomed the involvement of Afghanistan in the Central Asian regional mechanisms for cooperation on counterterrorism.
The Security Council made a trip to Afghanistan at the weekend to get first-hand information on the country's security situation and its efforts to rebuild.