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U.S. troops finished service in the Police Mentoring Team in Afghanistan

2012.08.30
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On August 27 a formal ceremony was held to farewell the military personnel of the Pennsylvania National Guard of the United States of America being redeployed after the completion of service in the Police Mentoring Team (PMT) which provides training and mentoring to local police forces of Ghor province. The ceremony took place at the compound of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team of Ghor. A U.S. soldier who has been serving with the National Support Element was also farewelled by the same parade.

 

Commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT-15) Col Artūras Radvilas presented decorations, remembrance tokens, and letters of commendation to the outgoing military personnel.

 

Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard have been a part of the PMT along with their Lithuanian counterparts and delivered training and mentoring to the units of Ghowr police since the autumn of 2010. This is the last rotation from the total of 4 that the U.S. troops have formed for the purpose of service in the PMT prior to the withdrawal from the mission in Ghor. The personnel of the PMT included 20 persons: U.S. troops and Lithuanian officers from the Military Police and the Public Security Service. The Police Mentoring Team was led by a Lithuanian officer.

 

Members of the Afghan National Police in Ghor (judges, prosecutors, and higher level police officers) receive training and mentoring not only from the PMT but also from the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan) operating from the PRT compound since 2007. EUPOL includes 10 officers, three of them - Lithuanians, two Czech and two Finnish representatives, one Pole, a Croat, and a Bulgarian representative.

 

As the transfer of responsibility process onto local Afghan forces gathers pace, the countries participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation begin scheduling the withdrawal of their national contributions. The United States of America, the major contributor to the ISAF operation, also begins a drawdown of its forces in Afghanistan.

 

Currently PRT-15 formed by the Lithuanian Grand Duchess Birutė Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Lithuanian Land Force ensures security in Ghowr. The shift as well as the entire military element of Chaghcharan Provincial Reconstruction Team is led by Lt Col Artūras Radvilas, Commander of the Battalion. It is the second deployment of the Battalion's personnel to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Combat flag of the unit flew in the PRT camp in Chaghcharan in 2008. The Civilian Element of the PRT is manned by Lithuanian, Japanese and U.S. offices representing their respective governments and completing development cooperation projects and programmes.

 

The activity of the Lithuanian office is organised by two members of the Lithuanian Special Mission, the Japanese office is run by four development cooperation advisors, and the work of the U.S. office is done by one representative of the Department of State and two advisors of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Lithuanian civilian and military personnel in Ghowr executes the peacekeeping mission along with colleagues from Georgia, Japan, USA, Poland, Finland, the Check Republic, Ukraine, Croatia and Bulgaria.

 

On the 4th of January, 2012, the transfer of responsibility for Chaghcharan, capital of the province of Ghor, and the surrounding area, and on May 13 – the transfer of responsibility for security onto local security forces was announced in Chaghcharan. The process was applied to three more regions of Ghor – Lalva Sar Jangal, Chahar Sadeh, and Dowlat Yar. Currently the responsibility of the local security forces – military and police – is gradually increased in the area inhabited by approximately 80 percent of the population in the province as part of the transfer of responsibility process. Local administrative capabilities are enhanced and development cooperation projects are also being continued. They key mission of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team of Ghor is to train the Afghan National Security Forces with a major focus on mentoring.

 

 

Release by: PIO for PRT-15 1st Lt Jurgis Norvaiša

Photos by Capt Rūta Gaižutytė

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