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"Our strategy in Afghanistan is, one, to provide enough security so civil society can move forward. Any counter -- effective counterinsurgency strategy will require more than just military action. It requires a military-civilian interface. And so if you look on the screen you see brave and courageous Americans in uniform and not in uniform, because they're a part of this strategy to help Afghans, one, understand the blessings of good governance -- in other words, the folks are attempting to fight corruption at the local level so that the local citizens are able to have a positive outlook about their government. We're also working to educate people, build roads, provide good health care. And our fellow citizens are there on the ground in some difficult circumstances, all aiming to help this young democracy survive and thrive. And there are difficulties, but we're also making progress."
-- President George W. Bush, March 13, 2008
On March 13, 2008, President Bush received an update by video teleconference from American civilian and military leaders serving with Afghanistan Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) and at a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) in Afghanistan. Teams located around the country provide critical support to the Government of Afghanistan's efforts to improve security and democratic governance, to provide essential services, and to expand economic opportunity. The President, along with Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General James Cartwright, spoke with U.S. civilian and military officers at U.S.-led PRTs in Ghazni, Paktika, and Farah provinces, and at PRTs led by partners in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Bamian (New Zealand) and Helmand (United Kingdom). The President discussed the important progress these teams are making in local communities around Afghanistan.
PRTs Are A Key Element Of The International Effort In Afghanistan
The United States, in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, the Afghan National Security Forces, members of the NATO Alliance and other international partners, is helping the Afghan people defend their freedom against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Thanks to the courage of both military forces and civilian experts, a nation that was once a safe haven for al Qaeda is a growing democracy.
Twenty-six PRTs are now operating in Afghanistan and working in partnership with communities around the country. Twelve of these PRTs are led by the United States and 14 are led by our NATO Allies and Coalition partners. PRTs help ensure that improvements in security are sustainable.
PRTs Participating In Today's Video Teleconference Illustrate The Variety Of Operating Environments, Challenges And Successes That The U.S. Interagency And International Community Face In Afghanistan
1. Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team
PRT Ghazni and U.S. Task Force Fury, located in eastern Afghanistan, consist of service members and civilians from the Departments of State and Agriculture and USAID. With PRT support, security in the region has improved over the past year.
2. Lashkar Gah Provincial Reconstruction Team (Helmand Province)
The Lashkar Gah PRT and Task Force Helmand, which are led by the United Kingdom, are composed of both civilian and military representatives from the UK and civilian representatives from the United States (Department of State and USAID), Estonia and Denmark. The UK views this structure, with close civilian-military links, as ensuring a "comprehensive approach" that will make progress sustainable.
3. Farah Provincial Reconstruction Team
PRT Farah located in western Afghanistan is composed of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians from the United States Departments of State and Agriculture and USAID. The PRT works closely with Regional Command-West (commanded by Italy) and also cooperates with U.S. Army teams who mentor the Afghan Police and Army.
4. Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team (Sharana)
The Paktika PRT, located in eastern Afghanistan with U.S. Task Force Fury, has members from the Navy, Army, Arizona National Guard, State Department, USAID, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Participants In Today's Meeting
Participants joining from Afghanistan via video teleconference included:
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