By Navy Lt. Neil Myers
Special to American Forces Press Service
July 7, 2008 - As the security situation becomes more stable in five of this Afghan province's southern districts, coalition civil affairs teams are helping improve governance and infrastructure. Army Capt. Roman Skaskiw, 451st Civil Affairs Battalion, is responsible for the five southern Konar districts. Although these districts differ in the quality of governance and development, they all suffer from a lack of security, power and infrastructure.
"The overall security situation is becoming more stable," Skaskiw said. "The reason for the fighting is local animosities influenced by people who feel they are not getting their share of the redevelopment. However, development dampens the insurgency, as evidenced in the improving police, the roads connecting the people to the government, and the burgeoning health care system."
The civil affairs team works with the Afghan government and international humanitarian organizations to rebuild infrastructure and restore stability in areas stricken by war or natural disasters. Joint civil-military efforts are key components in winning the hearts and minds of Afghans, buttressing the authority of the government in Kabul, and providing a central effort in the U.S.-led counterinsurgency campaign, Skaskiw said. The teams work in partnership with representatives from U.S. government agencies such as the State and Agriculture departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Provincial reconstruction teams were established to facilitate infrastructure development necessary for the Afghan people to succeed in a post-conflict environment. Most PRTs are run by Navy and Air Force officers and are the face of the U.S. redevelopment aid for millions of Afghans.
"PRTs fill specific needs and challenges, such as security and stability, which is apparent in Afghanistan's rebuilding process," said Navy Cmdr. Daniel Dwyer, the Konar PRT commander. "Development without security is unsustainable, and security without development is meaningless."
(Navy Lt. Neil Myers serves with the Konar Provincial Reconstruction Team.)