For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 26, 2008
Fact Sheet: Making Afghanistan More Secure with Economic and Reconstruction Assistance
President Bush Meets With President Karzai And Receives An Update On U.S. Efforts Toward Helping Afghans Achieve Necessary Economic Growth And Political Stabilization to Sustain Security Gains
In Focus: Afghanistan
President Bush Participates in Video Teleconference with President Karzai of Afghanistan, United States Provincial Reconstruction Team Leaders, National Guard Agriculture Development Team Representatives, and Afghan Governors
"We're using Provincial Reconstruction Teams of military and civilian experts to help local communities fight corruption, improve governance, and jumpstart their economies. We're using Agricultural Development Teams to help Afghan farmers feed their people and become more self-sufficient ... In all these ways, we're working to ensure that our military progress is accompanied by the political and economic gains that are critical to the success of a free Afghanistan."
President George W. Bush, 9/9/08
Today, President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai received an update from two Afghan governors and from U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) leaders on the important work being done to improve economic and security gains in Afghanistan. The Provincial Governors and PRT leaders from Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan briefed President Bush and President Karzai on the changes they are seeing firsthand on the ground. PRT leaders emphasized that strong partnerships between Afghans and the Americans at the local level have led to greater community participation in reconstruction and development efforts, more jobs, and better security.
- PRTs, first established in 2003, 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. U.S.-led PRTs are composed of uniformed personnel who provide both force protection and civil affairs support, and civilian personnel from the State Department, USAID, and the Department of Agriculture. Civilian personnel are also assigned to PRTs led by NATO Allies and partners. Afghan citizens serve on PRTs as technical experts, interpreters, long-term stakeholders, and liaisons with local communities.
PRTs Are A Key Component Of The International Effort In Afghanistan
PRTs are part of the overall effort to help the Afghan people defend their freedom and defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The core mission of PRTs is to help provincial governments develop a transparent and sustained capability to govern; promote increased security and rule of law; promote political and economic development; provide assistance necessary to meet the basic needs of the population; and help ensure that improvements in security are sustainable.
- Twenty-six PRTs are now operating in Afghanistan in partnership with communities around the country. Of these PRTs, 12 are led by the United States and 14 are led by our NATO allies and Coalition partners.
Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction Team
The Nangarhar PRT and Missouri National Guard ADT have helped make Nangarhar, in eastern Afghanistan, one of the most stable and secure provinces in Afghanistan. The ADT consists of the Army National Guard and embedded civilian specialists. The specialists provide technical assistance and training to improve agriculture production, processing, and marketing.
- The Nangarhar PRT has contributed to the following results:
- Approximately 100,000 Afghans have returned to the province in 2008.
- This year, Nangarhar was declared poppy-free by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime dropping from almost 20,000 hectares (200,000 square meters) in 2007.
- All 22 districts in Nangarhar have all-weather paved roads connecting to the main highway.
- Nangarhar is now one of the most productive agricultural regions in Afghanistan, and the PRT is working to expand and improve irrigation networks.
- The PRT supports work on roads and bridge construction, schools, government buildings, watershed management, and market infrastructure.
- The Nangarhar PRT is providing micro-grants to small businesses and enabling them to re-open and expand restocking inventory, restoring business equipment, and hiring employees.
Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team
The Kunar PRT currently operates through two teams just outside the provincial capital, Task Force Spader and Task Force Raider. PRT team members have made progress on building government capacity and infrastructure and spurring economic development. The PRT also hired eight Afghan expatriates to strengthen outreach and forge closer working relationships with communities across the province.
- The Kunar PRT has contributed to the following results:
- Small businesses have flourished Kunar province's main marketplace now has more than 600 stores, up from 100 just three years ago.
- The PRT has constructed 16 schools, 20 medical clinics, and 8 district centers.
- The Kunar PRT completed 13 roads and 11 bridges. The Jalalabad-Asmar and Pech River roads have dramatically cut travel times and connected two provincial centers of commerce with Jalalabad.
- Kunar now has cell phone service across the province.
- Kunar was declared poppy-free in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime 2007 report.
- Afghan and U.S. officials and PRT and ADT members participating from Afghanistan via video teleconference included:
- Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, Governor, Kunar Province
- Gul Agha Sherzai, Governor, Nangarhar Province
- Herbie Smith, USAID, PRT Office Director
- Thomas Billak, Department of Agriculture, PRT Office Director
- Mai Nguyen, Department of State, PRT Office Deputy Director
- Major John C. Barfels, U.S. Army Civil Affairs/Medical Services Corps, Kunar PRT Commander (Acting)
- Bruce C. Dubee, Agricultural Advisor, PRT Asadabad, Kunar Province
- Michael Unglesbee, Department of State, PRT Asadabad, Kunar Province
- Lt. Colonel Gregory Allison, U.S. Army, Commander, 935th Agribusiness Development Team, PRT Jalalabad Province
- Major Cliffton C. Cornell, U.S. Army, PRT Jalalabad Commander (Acting)
- Shawn Waddoups, Department of State, PRT Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province
- Gary S. Domian, Department of Agriculture, Advisor, PRT Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province
- Hilda Grigorian, USAID, Field Program Officer, PRT Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province
- U.S. Embassy and Senior Military Officers
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