About the Author: Hila Hanif serves in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP).
The strength of our efforts in Afghanistan lies in the fact that we are working together with a number of partner nations, including 48 contributing troops to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who are dedicated to improving security, governance and economic opportunity in Afghanistan and the region. Our allies and partners have made numerous contributions in the form of troops, Afghan National Security Forces trainers, PRT staff and resources, and economic assistance. Our allies, just like U.S. troops and civilians, are stationed throughout the country, some in the regions that are seeing the highest levels of violence. At the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Helmand, the United States is working with the UK, the Danish and the Estonians in a truly multinational effort. The UK has had the lead for the Helmand PRT since 2006.
Despite the extraordinary security challenges faced in this region of the country the PRT has made a number of significant achievements. Out of Helmand's 14 districts, 11 now have governors in place, a remarkable accomplishment given that there were only 5 in place at the end of 2008. Since that time, 46 schools have re-opened and pupil enrollment is steadily rising. The PRT is supporting the Afghan government in provincial administration through the District Delivery Program (DDP), and have invested in a number of infrastructure and economic development projects. The current head of the Helmand PRT is Michael O'Neill from the UK Foreign Office. Michael's blog, in which he, shares his account of some of his experiences in Helmand is available here.