By: John Boonstra on April 04, 2008 Echoing the assurances that his boss, the Secretary-General, gave at the NATO summit in Bucharest yesterday, the new UN Envoy to Afghanistan, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, affirmed the importance of continuing and expanding the UN’s vital role there. The United Nations should take a bigger role in Afghanistan and work harder with NATO to boost efforts to stabilize the country, new U.N. envoy Kai Eide said Thursday. “There is a desire for a stronger U.N. and for more U.N., and we will certainly try to live up to that,” Eide told The Associated Press in one of his first media interviews since taking office three days ago. “I would certainly like to have more U.N. people on the ground than we have today,” he said on the sidelines of a NATO summit. UN officials are not the only ones pressing for a larger role for their organization in Afghanistan. From the op-ed page of the The New York Times, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has extolled the benefits that increased UN involvement brings to Afghanistan. NATO’s military presence obviously remains the crux of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan, but consensus seems to dictate that the UN political mission is bridging a crucial gap.