Three Afghan Provinces ‘Prime for Transition,’ Colonel Says

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2010 — Three provinces in east­ern Afghanistan are “prime for tran­si­tion” in the near future for self-gov­er­nance, a task force com­man­der in the region said today.

“The Afghan gov­ern­ment has made tremen­dous progress in [its] abil­i­ty to both pro­tect and gov­ern the Afghan peo­ple,” said Army Col. William Roy, com­man­der of Task Force Wolver­ine and the Ver­mont Nation­al Guard’s 86th Infantry Brigade Com­bat Team, speak­ing from Afghanistan with Pen­ta­gon reporters by video teleconference. 

Roy and his sol­diers are devel­op­ing secu­ri­ty forces and dis­trict gov­ern­ments in Afghanistan’s Par­wan, Pan­jshir and Bamyan provinces. A recent com­bined oper­a­tion in west­ern Par­wan, he said, result­ed in five Tal­iban oper­a­tives being detained when they were caught try­ing to plant bombs along a major road network. 

“We see this as a tremen­dous exam­ple of the progress they’re mak­ing,” he said. 

The Afghan Nation­al Police are “right on the heels” of the Afghan army in gain­ing respect from the Afghan peo­ple, Roy said. Afghan police can­di­dates in the region are well-edu­cat­ed, he added, with a 90 per­cent lit­er­a­cy rate in Bamyan. 

“When you have a [police] train­ing class with seats for 30 indi­vid­u­als and you have 50 show up, the desire to learn and to grow in their capa­bil­i­ty is tremen­dous,” Roy said. 

Now on his fourth deploy­ment to Afghanistan, Roy said he has seen sig­nif­i­cant change in Afghanistan’s army since he arrived in 2002 for his first tour of duty there. 

“So com­ing back here in 2010, you see the Afghan Nation­al Army and it has grown by leaps and bounds,” he said, not­ing the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of today’s offi­cer corps and the build­ing of a “very strong” corps of non­com­mis­sioned officers. 

Roy said he sees Afghan sol­diers dur­ing his cur­rent tour whom he first met in the war’s ear­ly years. “When you work along­side them in this type of a mis­sion, you become very close friends,” he said. Many have gone from being com­pa­ny com­man­ders to bat­tal­ion com­man­ders, from bat­tal­ion com­man­ders to brigade com­man­ders, from bat­tal­ion com­mand sergeants major to brigade com­mand sergeants major since he’s known them, he said. 

“I had a great con­ver­sa­tion with one of the for­mer com­pa­ny com­man­ders in Eng­lish,” he said. “He went through the train­ing cen­ter to study Eng­lish, and we had a tremen­dous con­ver­sa­tion when I came back.” 

Progress in secu­ri­ty has allowed for devel­op­ment in the three provinces for recon­struc­tion, embed­ded train­ing and agribusi­ness devel­op­ment, the colonel said, and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in east­ern Afghanistan is becom­ing evident. 

“In Pan­jshir, they just opened up a mar­ble mine fac­to­ry that is real­ly pro­vid­ing a lot of rev­enue as well as jobs for the locals,” Roy said. Tourism signs are begin­ning to pop up in Bamyan, he added. The future of Afghanistan lies in small busi­ness, Roy said. 

“When I was here in 2002, when you went from Kab­ul to Bagram, there was vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing on the road,” he told reporters. “Now, in about an hour-long dri­ve, you get the devel­op­ment all the way along — busi­ness­es grow­ing up, gas sta­tions on the side of the road.” 

Afghanistan’s abil­i­ty to self-gov­ern is mov­ing slow­ly, but steadi­ly, Roy said, not­ing that Bamyan has Afghanistan’s only female gov­er­nor, rep­re­sent­ing the Haz­ara population. 

Panjshir’s min­istry of agri­cul­ture put togeth­er a bud­get, sent it to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and received the bud­get back to put in place in the province, he added. 

The U.S. mil­i­tary offers Afghans the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work through such pro­grams as the Com­man­ders Emer­gency Response Pro­gram, which pro­vides fund­ing for imme­di­ate-impact projects. If a bridge needs rebuild­ing, the Afghan peo­ple will build it with cement sup­plied by the U.S. mil­i­tary. By man­date, con­trac­tors must hire local work­ers for such programs. 

The rela­tion­ship between the provin­cial gov­ern­ments and Afghanistan’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment is strong, Roy said. 

“The gov­er­nors that we have in all three of our provinces under­stand what the require­ments are to over­see the needs of the peo­ple,” Roy said. 

“It’s the Afghans who are lead­ing the way,” he added. “And it’s been that way for quite some time.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →