KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Paul Ijames, a civilian with the Army Corps of Engineers, speaks to local foremen and workers at the National Army Volunteer Center in Asadabad May 14. Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar provided security and escort for Ijames, who is overseeing the project to build the NAVC building. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Christopher Marasky)
KUNAR, Afghanistan (May 16, 2012) — Provincial Reconstruction Team Kunar welcomed its newest members to the team with its first agricultural mission May 14.
Members of Agricultural Development Team Kunar merged with the PRT to bring the missions of provincial reconstruction and agricultural development together under one team.
The move to consolidate personnel, as the military looks to draw down forces across Afghanistan, makes perfect sense, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr Michael Yesunas, PRT Kunar commander.
“Afghanistan is a largely agrarian society, so one of the key ways we’ll be able to help connect the people of Afghanistan with their government is through agriculture and farming,” he said.
The team visited both the National Army Volunteer Center and the Mandacol Nursery during its first mission together, one location native to each team’s missions.
Throughout the day the mission showed how seamless the transition has been for the members of the ADT coming over to the PRT.
“The transition over has been very smooth for us,” said U.S. Army Maj. Fred Oehler, PRT Kunar agricultural officer in charge. “There are a number of ag projects where the PRT has had projects in the past, so this will help reduce some of the redundancy between the two teams.”
The addition of the agricultural section to the PRT means new missions, but the team is excited to have the new members, said Yesunas.
“We’re very happy to be getting such experienced professionals to the team,” he said. “I know they are going to make significant contributions both to our mission and to the nation of Afghanistan, and we look forward to working with them.”