25 Mar. 2008

PR# 2008-116

ISAF PRTs transfer authority

Lt. Col. Brett Sharp and outgoing Lt. Col. Randall Gilhart, during a transfer of authority ceremony on Forward Operating Base Gardez

KABUL, Afghanistan – Ceremonies recently took place to transfer authority of ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in southeastern Afghanistan.

Four Regional Command East (RC-East) PRTs that provide aid to Paktika, Paktya, Ghazni and Khowst Provinces were relieved by incoming groups after 12 months in the country.

A new PRT was also activated in Logar Province to keep up governmental mentorship, construction projects and infrastructure building.

"We will continue this momentum," said Commander Tom Peters, the new Sharana PRT commander in Paktika.

The most effective weapon the PRT wields against the insurgents is not force, explained Col. Martin Schweitzer, 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team commander.

The greatest threat to the Taliban is not our soldiers, he said, addressing the attendees of the ceremonies. "It is the leadership of (these districts) who have been mentored and supported by these PRT teams."

"The PRT has always answered any and all questions I’ve had," said Paktika Governor Abram Khapalwak during the ceremony in Sharana. "They’ve helped me with everything I’ve needed. I know this new team will do the same to help me build our country."

The great strides taken in the last year throughout these provinces are the result of the people working with their district and provincial level governments, which have partnered with their respective PRT commanders and their staff. Further progress depends on the same level of commitment on behalf of the new teams, Col. Schweitzer explained.

"Everyone is depending on you," he said to each of the incoming teams. "While you have big shoes to fill, you are up to the task."

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/