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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs > Releases > Public Statements on South and Central Asian Policy > 2003

Opening Remarks at Provisional Reconstruction Team Stand-Up Ceremony

Dr. Robert P. Finn, Ambassador to Afghanistan
Kabul, Afghanistan
February 1, 2003

Governor Dalili, Distinguished government officials, Colonel Maughan, soldiers of Coalition Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force and honored guests and friends:

It is a great honor for me to be here today with you on behalf of the United States of America, to witness the opening of this Civil Military Operations Center store-front office, a part of the first ever Provisional Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. This initiative is in direct response to the clamor of the Afghan people, from every part of the country, for an intensification of ongoing reconstruction and development efforts. Our activities aim at supporting the hard work of the Afghan government and the long-standing dedication of people of goodwill everywhere to help the Afghans.

Over the past year, CJCMOTF has helped to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans. I am happy to report that with the launch of this new PRT, those efforts will multiply in the coming year. In Gardez alone, since August of last year, 3 schools totaling $25,000 were completed. In Paktia Province, 4 other schools totaling $120,000 are under construction. Already in the works are new projects for 10 schools, 3 wells and 1 clinic, totaling more than $350,000. These are just some of the hundreds of other schools, clinics, wells, and bridges that have been repaired in every part of Afghanistan.

This CMOC office will enhance those efforts by using civil affairs soldiers with expertise in medicine, engineering, government, project management and law enforcement. As part of the PRT, these specialized soldiers will help facilitate information exchange between the international assistance community, the Afghan government and the military, so that the reconstruction of this region can accelerate. They are not here to replace the efforts of the Afghan government or of independent donors, but to support them in any constructive and positive way we can.

I congratulate Governor Dalili, President Karzai and the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan for their keen interest in and enthusiastic support of this PRT. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, reconstruction will benefit all of the citizens of this province, especially the people of Gardez city, who earnestly want their families to be secure, healthy, educated and able to earn a decent living. Working together we will all build a better future for Afghanistan.

Thank you very much.


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