News: PRT Farah Leadership Attends Tranche 3 Security Transition Ceremony at Camp Sayar
Story by Lt.j.g. Matthew Stroup
Camp Sayar, FARAH, December 12, 2012 – U.S Navy Cmdr. Louis McCray, commanding officer of Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah, and civilian leaders from PRT Farah attended a Tranche 3 security transition ceremony at Camp Sayar in Farah province, Dec. 12.
The ceremony was attended by Dr. Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, Provincial Governor of Farah, U.S. Consul-General Jillian Burns, the Afghan Minister of Higher Education and Deputy Minister of Public Health, Commander, Regional Command West, Italian Gen. Dario Ranieri and British Army Brigadier General Richard Cripwell in addition to dozens of other provincial and coalition leaders. The ceremony represented another success in the security transition process as six districts in Farah were officially transitioned to Afghan led security from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) – Anar Darah, Bala Boluk, Farah, Lash-e Juwayn, Qal’ay-ye Kah and Shayb Koh. Upon completion of the security transition in Tranche 3 areas, Afghanistan will be responsible for protecting over 75 percent of their country’s population.
“Today is a good day,” said Khpalwak. “Our own Afghans, our own blood, are taking responsibility to provide security for the districts. I am proud to see Afghans defend our territory, our country and our people.”
The ceremony was another step forward in the security transition process as both Afghan and ISAF leaders push toward a transition to one hundred percent Afghan led security by the end of 2014. The decision to move specific districts and provinces through the steps of transition, or tranches as they are referred to in ISAF terms, is based on ANSF capabilities, the level of security available to the populous to continue daily activities and the degree of development of local governance.
“Responsibility for four districts in Farah were handed over six months ago,” said Khpalwak. “And despite challenges they have, they have not collapsed. The show that our security forces are capable and getting stronger.”
General Ranieri was also encouraged by another step completed in the security transition process.
“Each of you knows well that we are in a tough fight. But we now have the opportunity to demonstrate to the local, national and international communities that with the growth of Afghan security forces in both capacity and capability, we can transfer the security authorities and demonstrate to the people that their forces are here to safeguard them, see to their needs and that we are in this to win,” said Ranieri.
Equally important to the security effort is the local governance that provides services to the people in order to help facilitate growth and stabilize communities.
“Local governance is critical to the transition process,” said McCray. “A significant portion of our job as a PRT is to work directly with local leaders to advise and assist them in their efforts. If provincial level officials are able to provide real and meaningful services to their people, the people have a significant reason not to turn to the insurgency for support.”
In June 2011, twenty-five PRT nations agreed to a set of principles for the evolution and ultimate dissolution of the PRTs. With the phase out and closure of PRTs on the horizon, there is a push by PRTs to link provincial level leaders with the civilian and military leaders who will be the enduring presence in Afghanistan post-2014.
“PRT Farah hasn’t been assigned a closure date, but two of our primary lines of effort at PRT Farah are codifying our relationships with Afghan leadership in the province and developing relationships between provincial leaders and those who will have an enduring presence in western Afghanistan. It is absolutely imperative that we facilitate the relationships that the leadership of the province will need for long-term success post-2014,” said McCray.
Following the ceremony, a shura was held for coalition and Afghan, military and civilian leadership to discuss ongoing initiatives, projects and challenges in the province. A shura is a traditional Afghan process where people come together to discuss issues and make decisions about a particular topic. It was yet another example of the teamwork across services, nations, military and civilian sectors that are essential to Afghan success both before and after the 2014 security transition.
PRT Farah’s mission is to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial levels in Farah Province, Afghanistan. Their civil-military team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). For more information about the PRT follow their page on Defense Video and Information Distribution System (DVIDS) at www.dvidshub.net/unit/PRTF.
This work, PRT Farah Leadership Attends Tranche 3 Security Transition Ceremony at Camp Sayar, by LTJG Matthew Stroup, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.