Peacekeeping: PRTs in Afghanistan


October 16, 2005: The U.S. and its NATO and Coalition partners have deployed about 20 "Provincial Reconstruction Teams" (PRTs) to Afghanistan. PRTs are based in the capitals of Afghanistan's provinces. Their purpose is to support, monitor, and report on critical political, military, and reconstruction developments. They work to expand the authority of the Afghan central government and facilitate development, reconstruction, and humanitarian assistance by contributing to an improved security environment. In terms of improving security, PRTs work to help demobilize and disarm local militias, support the development of the local police, and strengthen the legal system. A major part of their work is to establish good working relationships with local government, tribal, military, and religious leaders, as well as with U.N. officials and NGOs in the provinces.

About three-quarters of the PRTs are staffed by the U.S.-led coalition (including Korea and New Zealand) and the rest by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF -- a combined NATO effort by Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain). Most PRTs are multi-national, and include both military and civilian personnel. Usually the military personnel provide security and logistical support, while representatives of the Afghan Ministry of the Interior coordinate the activities of diplomats, economic development specialists, and humanitarian relief personnel. PRTs vary in size from about 75 to as many as 400 personnel, depending upon the region and level of risk. PRTs do the "civic action" work that is the backbone of any successful counter-insurgency operation, and are very popular in Afghanistan. The program has been expanded as Afghans in other parts of the country call for PRTs to come work with them.




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