From the event

26 Feb 2007

PR# 2007-133

U.S. ambassador, Kapisa governor discuss reconstruction

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann, stressed the need for patience during a press conference with Kapisa Governor, Abdul Sattar Murad, in Mahmud Raqi, Kapisa, Feb. 25.

The ambassador was in Mahmud Raqi to tour a new Afghan television station and meet with Murad in order to discuss the progress of reconstruction projects in Kapisa Province, such as new schools, hospitals and a women’s shelter.

Neumann said Kapisa Province was making great progress due in part to the role of the provincial council. “Kapisa is making real progress in development,” he said. “In many ways, it is a model for other provinces. I think this is a time in Afghanistan when Afghans are working to rebuild the government. It cannot only be a government in Kabul. It has to also be government in the provinces.”

Neumann added that Kapisa has made great progress with the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team, and as more progress is made, the role of the PRTs will change. “You have a very good and active PRT to work with you,” he said. “The work of the PRT is changing over time. When the PRTs were first set up, they were in a situation with no government, and they had to help people in need. As the government grows, PRTs have to change from a parallel structure of government to a reinforcement of government.”

“Afghanistan will have a complete victory when it has a government able to take care of its people,” Neumann said. “The PRT has a role in building the state that will defeat terrorism.”

Despite the challenges still facing Afghanistan, Neumann said he was optimistic. “I have been talking to many people in the U.S. Congress,” he said. “I will tell them we are on the right track and that Afghanistan is on the right track.”

He also said that, ultimately, the future of Afghanistan lies in the hands of the Afghan people, not the International Security Assistance Force. “I also recognize that some of the most important questions must be answered by Afghans,” he said. “Only you can create a good government. Only Afghans can deal with corruption. Those are long problems, and we will help. But they are ultimately yours.”

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