Kabul, 1 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The United States has established a military reconstruction team in the western Afghan province of Herat bordering Iran. U.S. military spokesman Bryan Hilferty said the 50-member group began operating in Herat today and will also oversee projects in three neighboring provinces. Five similar groups, known as Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), are operating in different parts of Afghanistan (Bamiyan, Konduz, Mazar-e Sharif, Gardez, and Parwan). PRT members participate in small reconstruction projects and provide security for aid work in urban areas.
Aid groups and UN institutions have criticized the deployment of the military teams in the safest areas of Afghanistan while avoiding deployments danger zones where humanitarian assistance is badly needed.
NATO took over command of one of the PRTs and agreed to do so with other teams as soon as the necessary resources become available.