Partnership with Afghanistan to continue after 2014: Ban Online May 21 Chicago; international community will continue partnership

with Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO-led forces by the end of 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He made the remarks after meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai , the two-day NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, which kicked off here Sunday afternoon, Xinhua reported.

"The secretary-general said the Chicago summit was an important milestone that underscored, and that the international community will continue to partner with Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the international military forces," Ban said NATO-led ISAF, a coalition force whose numbers reached a peak of more than 140,000 troops last year, has already started a draw-down.

The vast majority is scheduled to leave by the end of 2014, when the Afghan troops are expected to take over all security responsibilities.

"While noting the steps the Afghan authorities have taken on governance, he said that amid a global fiscal crisis donors would continue to link long-term aid with delivery on governance,"

"The secretary-general reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to provide support to the Afghan authorities to produce credible and democratic elections," The UN chief also underscored the importance of political reconciliation, socio-economic development and human rights, especially to improve the status for women and girls in the war-torn country.

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