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PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan-Ethan Glick, U.S. Department of State and Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team acting director from Columbia, Md., addresses the Meshrano Jirga during a meeting on provincial security in Panjshir. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean White, PRT Panjshir Public Affairs)PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of Provincial Reconstruction Team Panjshir and Meshrano Jirga members from different provinces across Afghanistan gathered together at the Astana Guest House in Panjshir to discuss provincial security July 12.

More than 100 members of the Meshrano Jirga, the upper house of the bicameral National Assembly of Afghanistan, joined together with the provincial governor.

“One of the goals today is to show the security of our province as the example of how it should be,” said Panjshir Governor Keramuddin Keram through an interpreter. “The PRT is not wearing armor because of the stability in the province.”

Prior to the meeting, the guests visited various areas throughout Panjshir to include paying respects at the tomb of Ahmad Shah Massoud, “Hero of the Afghan nation,” who was killed in 2001.

“The fact that we were invited to be honored guests means a lot to us,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Curtis Velasquez, Abilene, Kan., resident and PRT Panjshir PRT commander. “The work we do is approved by the government, and we are here to work for the people of Panjshir through the district and provincial government.”

Keram opened the meeting by welcoming his guests and discussing the importance of the PRT and various projects throughout the province.

“We not only have PRTs here, but we have non-governmental organizations and donors who can come in the province at any time,” Keram said. “Security is good because we have hardworking Panjshiris, and they support the government.”

After Keram spoke, Velasquez was given the opportunity to address the guests.

“We only build projects the government and people want. As guests in your country, we are only here as long as you want us,” said Velasquez. “We are here as partners and here to support the people of Panjshir.

“Being invited by Keramuddin Keram to meet the Meshrano Jirga shows mutual cooperation and ties in the central government to the provincial leadership,” Velasquez said. It also shows the government working for the people.”

The meeting concluded with discussions over a traditional Afghan meal.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 July 2010 22:07

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