Commanders Share Ideas on Provincial Reconstruction Teams
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, April 6, 2006 Provincial reconstruction team commanders from around the country converged here last week to share ideas on how to improve stability and security in Afghanistan.
PRTs extend the visibility and reach of the Afghan government, shape the environment for reconstruction, and provide a visible international presence that deters terrorist and criminal activities, especially in remote areas.
Afghanistan has 23 provincial reconstruction teams: 14 in the south and east, the areas in which the coalition has primary security responsibilities, and nine in the north and west, where NATO's International Security Assistance Force carries out a similar security mission.
The conference, held March 27 through March 30, included presentations from the U.S. State Department, ISAF, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, and 321st Civil Affairs Battalion officials.
The PRT commanders also met with representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development and other organizations to discuss how to get the best results from reconstruction efforts.
In small groups, the commanders discussed building Afghans' faith in their government; providing humanitarian assistance; security-sector reform; and how to operate effectively in a high-risk environment. They also discussed the Alternative Livelihoods Program, which supports counternarcotics efforts by encouraging farmers to grow crops other than poppy and offering training in new skills.
"The meetings we've had the past four days have been very productive," Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of the coalition's Combined Joint Task Force 76, said as the conference concluded. "The groups have worked well together, and their efforts will help to improve the quality of life for the people of Afghanistan."
(From a Combined Forces Command news release.)