Today (15 November) the leadership of the German Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kunduz (Afghanistan) was transferred to the Federal Foreign Office during a formal ceremony. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement in Berlin today (15 November):
Establishing civilian leadership of the reconstruction team is another important step towards handing over responsibility for security to the government of Afghanistan.
This is another step down the path that we have embarked upon towards putting the leadership of our reconstruction teams in civilian hands. Our involvement in Afghanistan increasingly has a civilian face.
The handover of responsibility for security is making progress. The withdrawal of German troops is being implemented according to plan. We emphasized this point with our proposal for a new Afghanistan mandate. When the current mandate ends, there will again be significantly fewer German troops in Afghanistan. We are looking for a large majority in the German Bundestag for our clear course of responsibility for our soldiers and for Afghanistan.
After ten years of joint civilian-military leadership, the German PRTs are now being placed completely under civilian leadership step by step. The PRTs are thus increasingly becoming purely consulting and support missions.
In Helmut Landes, the PRT Kunduz will have a seasoned diplomat from the Federal Foreign Office who has experience in the region as its leader. Most recently he was head of the PRT Feyzabad, before handing it over to Afghanistan.
All civilian reconstruction and training activities will continue unchanged. In 2011, seven schools were built in the province of Kunduz. Six schools are currently under construction and five more are being planned. Parallel to this, two teacher training centres will be completed in the province of Kunduz by the end of 2012.
Water plants, streets and bridges have been built in the provinces of Kunduz and Takhar in recent years and will be expanded in the future. A district hospital is being planned and built in Rustaq.