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OSCE has important Afghan role to play, U.S. says

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Rosemary DiCarlo said there was strong support for an OSCE role in aiding political transition in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan holds provincial council and presidential elections in April. DiCarlo said during a press conference Monday the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had a vital role to play in Afghanistan's future.

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"The organization's work in Afghanistan complements the U.N.'s own efforts, including its support for Afghanistan's upcoming elections," she said. "Credible, transparent, and inclusive elections are critical to Afghanistan's stability and democratic development."

The OSCE announced in October it had decided to send a support team to Afghanistan to lend a hand in the April elections.

The elections will mark the first time in Afghanistan's history that power is transferred peacefully from one democratically elected government to the next.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is ineligible to compete because of term limits. There are 11 candidates vying to take his place.

U.N. envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis said Monday the Taliban needed to let the political process play out in peace.

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International forces in Afghanistan are winding down their combat operations this year as national forces take on more security responsibilities.

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