Afghanistan

DACAAR policy paper on relations to PRTs in Afghanistan

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Kabul, 4 July 2005 - For more than two years military Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) have carried out a mixture of security activities and development work in Afghanistan. Since the PRT concept was introduced by the US military in 2002, the PRT involvement in development activities has sparked a debate about blurring the line between civil and military activities. DACAAR is working in provinces where PRTs are present and therefore finds it necessary to formulate a clear policy on relations to PRTs in Afghanistan.

'For DACAAR it is important to find the right balance between creating stability and security on the one hand, and promoting development on the other hand. It is a fact that mixing civil and military activities damages the impartiality of NGOs and makes it difficult for people to distinguish between humanitarian and military actors in Afghanistan. However, the PRTs are here, and will continue to be here for years to come. Therefore, it is important that the discussion moves on, and that NGOs and PRTs agree on a level of co-existence', says Gorm Pedersen, director of DACAAR.

The US military established the first three PRTs in early 2003, and today, the concept of PRTs is consolidated and has developed to be an integrated part of several donor countries development and foreign policy, including Denmark. In August 2003, NATO took over command of ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces) and established the first ISAF PRTs, which are now gradually expanding coverage to all of Afghanistan.

The Danish Government is contributing with two teams of soldiers to the ISAF PRTs; one in Aybak in Samangan Province under the British PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif; the other team in Faizabad in Badakhshan Province under the German PRT in the same province.

DACAAR accepts and supports that ISAF and the ISAF PRTs play an important role in assisting the Afghan government in enhancing security throughout the country. DACAAR therefore supports NGO requests to NATO to expand the presence of ISAF outside of Kabul in order to step up security work. As stated in the policy paper DAACAR will, when necessary, exchange information with PRTs about security, reconstruction and development issues. However, DACAAR will not engage in collaboration or project implementation with PRTs.

Contacts:

Director Gorm Pedersen
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel: (93) (0) 70 28 87 11
Email: gorm.pedersen@dacaar.org

Public Information Officer Alexandra Strand Holm
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel: (93) (0) 79 33 77 53
Email: a.strand.holm@dacaar.org