UNITED NATIONS — Afghanistan's government will need to prove itself worthy of international support in the coming year, the UN Security Council heard on Monday, as the country faces a creeping threat from the Islamic State group.
Presenting the council with results of the war-torn nation's year of transition, UN special representative to Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom looked ahead to 2016, saying: "It is vital that the national unity government demonstrates increasingly its effectiveness, not only to the Afghan people but also donors on whom it is largely dependent."
President Ashraf Ghani was elected last year on a promise to bring peace to a country ravaged by more than three decades of conflict, and to rein in runaway corruption.
In the coming year, international donors will be forced to make "difficult choices" about the level and types of assistance they will offer to Kabul, Haysom said, with resources stretched to the limit worldwide amid a series of humanitarian crises.
"Afghanistan must show in particular that it is committed to tackle corruption, making the necessary governance reforms and generating hope for the future which will decrease the rate of emigration."
"Afghanistan needs to find a political route to peace," Haysom added.
The Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution that renews sanctions against the Taliban and its allies, as it has done annually since 1999.
With recent peace efforts at an impasse, Haysom called on the Taliban to reciprocate Kabul's commitments by stepping forward to engage with the government.
Militarily, he said, the Afghan National Security Forces have shown "resilience in the face of an intensified insurgency," and despite recent setbacks in places like Kunduz.
The ANSF should focus on improving its logistics and boosting morale, as well as building up its own air support capabilities, he added.
Afghanistan's UN ambassador, Mahmoud Saikal, echoed the concerns of the international community about the emerging threat from loyalists of IS, which is making inroads in the country, challenging the Taliban on their own turf.
"The rapid growth of Daesh in eastern and other parts of Afghanistan should be a serious concern for all of us," he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
"We need a unified response to strengthen global collaboration," the ambassador added. — AFP