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    US Ambassador visits Kunar, praises progress



    Courtesy Story

    Combined Joint Task Force 1 - Afghanistan

    KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, paid a visit to the Kunar provincial government offices in Asadabad, June 1, meeting with Gov. Fazlullah Wahidi and his staff before attending a graduation ceremony for the Kunar Construction Center.

    Eikenberry, making his third trip to Kunar, was accompanied by the recently appointed director of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, Farid Nomanzai.

    The ambassador’s party was escorted by the Kunar Provincial Reconstruction Team to the governor’s compound, where, after a closed-door session with the governor, Eikenberry and Nomanzai spoke to those assembled for the KCC graduation.

    Eikenberry was not sparing in his praise of the work Wahidi and his provincial and district-level administrators have done, as they have been “charting such a wonderful course for this province.”

    There was a significant increase in the business activity on the streets of Asadabad compared to his last visit, and strong indicators of huge economic growth in Kunar’s outlying districts as well, Eikenberry said.

    “Through our PRT the American people have supported development in this great province,” Eikenberry said. “The Pashad Bridge, Kunar Prison, hospital, water tower and Asadabad courthouse are all tremendous achievements.”

    The success stories, Eikenberry informed the crowd, are not just confined to Kunar, but are being heard throughout Afghanistan.

    “Kunar is developing a reputation as leading in its justice system,” he said. “Its fair and public trials have become the model for Afghanistan.”

    The reason we are here today, Eikenberry continued, is to honor the graduates of the Kunar vocational organization and the KCC.

    “The [KCC’s] reputation has spread far beyond [the] Shigal [District] and across Afghanistan in a very positive way. More than 900 students have graduated from this program and are using their skills not just in Kunar,” he said.

    During his remarks, Eikenberry also described the developing U.S. strategy of gradually transitioning the 34 Afghan provinces to full Afghan control. He assured the audience the U.S. will remain partners with Afghanistan for as long as the Afghan government and the Afghan people desire it. “What you can expect to see,” he said, “is for the U.S. to adjust our approach, take less of a leading role but continue to support our Afghan brothers and sisters.”

    The number of PRTs will be reduced, Eikenberry said, to reduce the number of parallel institutions which ultimately are obstructing the growth of your own government.

    “This is a province where the leadership is proving it’s ready to accept the challenges of the future,” he said.

    Wahidi, the focal point of much of the Ambassador’s praise, thanked him for his visit and for his ongoing support.

    “When the world looks at Kunar they see only fighting,” he said, “but the Ambassador knows the truth -- that Kunar is making progress. Together we must show the world a true image of Kunar.”



    Date Taken: 06.01.2011
    Date Posted: 06.07.2011 15:38
    Story ID: 71712
    Location: KUNAR PROVINCE, AF 

    Web Views: 72
    Downloads: 0