GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Deh Yak and PRT leadership meet and talk about the situation in the district.
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In an effort to begin the emersion of U.S. State Department personnel, who will soon be based out of a combat outpost, Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni met with Deh Yak leaders July 18, 2011.
During the trip, they also positioned two U.S. State Department personnel at the COP in an effort to begin a more permanent civilian mentorship in Deh Yak district.
“We are starting a district support team,” said Dominick Aponte, State Department Team Lead. “It is a smaller version of a PRT, but we are able to work more closely with the district governor. Where the main PRT can only get out [to the district center] once or twice a month, because I’m so close, I’ll be able to get [to the district center] once or twice a week.”
Though Aponte is the first to call the Deh Yak COP home, he is expecting two more State Department representatives to complete the team.
“Our mission is growing on the civilian side,” said Stetson Sanders, State Department PRT Senior Civilian Representative. “He is the first of the civilian surge.”
Districts throughout Afghanistan have been identified for district support teams, but Deh Yak is the first district in Ghazni to get one. According to Aponte, it was selected for several reasons.
“First, it has a functioning government,” said Aponte. “Security, while not ideal, is better than a lot of places.”
It is also ideal because Deh Yak was also selected to be visited by the Independent Directorate of Local Governance. The IDLG will assess the local government, and provide recommendations to improve service delivery. Both the IDLG and the district stability team will be able to work with the governor on the recommendations.
“This is another example of how the U.S. and international civilian presence is growing as the U.S. military is drawing down,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Tristan Rizzi, PRT Ghazni commander from St. Petersburg, Fla. “We are committed to the future of Afghanistan.”