Afghanistan: Transfer of Authority for the Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction Team in Chaghcharan
Ghor, May 19, 2013 – Yesterday, at Forward Operating Base ‘Shield’ in Chaghcharan, the Lithuanian Provincial Reconstruction Team transfer of authority between colonel Linas Kubilius (outgoing commander) and colonel Tomas MASAITIS (incoming commander) took place.
The ceremony was presided over by the Regional Command West Deputy Commander, colonel Mark Bertolini and by the commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces, major general Almantas Leika.
Present at the ceremony were also the governor of Ghor province, Mr. Sayed Anwar Rahmati, the head of the Lithuanian Special Mission in Afghanistan, Mr. Gintaras Bagdonas, the consul Jillian Burns and the highest civilian and military authorities of the area.
During his speech colonel Bertolini said that “PRT Chaghcharan’s closeness to the Afghan counterparts has helped them to become closer to the Afghan people. All Ghor districts have now entered the Transition process, and our Afghan partners are ready to take responsibility for protecting their own well-being”. He also welcomed the PRT 17th team to the RC-W family and wished it all the best to conduct this critically important mission which will be the final one in the province.
Major general Almantas Leika thanked his unit for an outstanding job during last six months and wished the final PRT rotation to accomplish this mission with dignity and honor.
Ghor province Governor Sayed Anwar Rahmati expressed his gratitude to the multinational military and civilian personnel of the Chaghcharan PRT for all the development and cooperation programs and projects in the province.
The Lithuanian-led civilian-military Provincial Reconstruction Team of Ghor province has been functioning as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan since 2005. As the process of the transition to Afghan security lead is being gradually implemented in Afghanistan, and with regard to the last year inclusion of the entire province of Ghor into the process, the responsibility for security is being gradually transferred to local forces in the province. The objective of the Lithuanian-led Chaghcharan PRT is to enhance the capabilities of local government and to train and mentor the Afghan National Security Forces.
Lithuania has scheduled the closure of Chaghcharan PRT mission to be completed in late 2013.