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UN Chief: Afghanistan Process Will be Long, Challenging

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday described as "challenging" the process aimed at turning over Afghanistan's security responsibility to its government.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban says the Afghan government's planned take over the country's security by 2014 will be a long and challenging process.

Mr. Ban briefed the U.N. Security Council Friday on an international conference he co-chaired in Kabul this week on the future of Afghanistan.

The secretary-general's spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said the conference, represented the official launch of the Kabul process.

During the conference Afghanistan committed to taking control of the country's security by 2014 and to improve governance and fight corruption. "The secretary-general said that he was encouraged by the outcome of the conference, but he added that words must be followed up with deeds by the Afghan authorities and by the international community. He said we can only move from vision to action with greater resolve and more good will and hard work," said Nesirky.

After attending the meeting, the security council's president, Nigerian ambassador Joy Ogwu, said in a statement the council welcomes a Kabul conference communiqué recognizing the importance of the Kabul process.

The council also repeated its earlier condemnation of violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. "The consensus is that this summit is a milestone in the development of peace, security and stability in Afghanistan and that the international community and all nation states will remain engaged with Afghanistan in order to sustain this milestone. So there is a forward-looking strategy. There is so much confidence in the capacity and ability, with international cooperation and support, that the election will hold and that 2014 is realistic," said Ogwu.

The security council statement says it looks forward to free, transparent and open legislative elections in Afghanistan in September.