28 Feb. 2009
PR# 2009-203

PRTs exchange ideas at ISAF

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan's 26 Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) commanders, along with 400 multi-national representatives attended the quarterly PRT conference held at International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters, 25-26 February.

The goal of conference organisers is to host a forum where every PRT commander can see plans simultaneously, have to opportunity to ask questions and then take back their newfound knowledge to their respective province.

An additional benefit of the conference is that it serves as an opportunity to exchange information with counterparts and talk about lessons learned by bringing everyone together providing an invaluable opportunity to network.

"You can communicate a lot of things through e-mail, but there are a lot more items that you don’t think of while you are typing that you think of while you are standing right next to them" said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Shawn Thorson, a PRT engagement officer for Regional Command-East (RC-E).

More than two-dozen briefings took place over the two-day conference covering a wide spectrum of topics including border security, disaster assistance, counter-narcotics and best practices.

"I think the sessions are good since each one is unique" said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Andy Torelli, the Zabul Province PRT Commander. "I was talking with a Czech Republic PRT commander and he mentioned they are doing a hydrology study that peaked my interest because we need to do that in our area, so I asked what they are doing and now I can take his advice back and use it in my province."

Renee Thakali, a U.S. Department of Agriculture advisor who has only been in Afghanistan for a few days said the conference gave her the background information she needs.

"My PRT has 30 different projects going on and this conference gives me the opportunity to network with others.  It’s been a great way to start my new job."

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/