Provincial Reconstruction Teams

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Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are the structured stabilization teams currently being used in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States and NATO troops.


In 2002 the United States developed the concept of PRTs (Provincial Reconstruction Teams) for use in NATO's mission in Afghanistan, the International Security Afghanistan Force. The US goal was to extend the capabilities of ISAF through PRTs, without having to deploy additional troops.[1]

PRT successes in Afghanistan, combined with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's move from Afghanistan to Iraq, led the United States to use the new stabilization structure in Iraq. Currently the United States is expanding its mission to increase its number of PRTs involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. The United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations, Michael J. Mcnerney, stated that "Provincial Reconstruction Teams have the potential to become a model for future stabilization and reconstruction operations." [2] Current peace operations in Haiti, Liberia, and a possible future mission in Darfur may follow this reformed structure.[3]


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated in a press conference in 2007 that, “The logic behind PRTs is simple. Success in Iraq relies on more than military efforts; it requires robust political and economic progress."[4] Afghanistan PRTs consist of approximately three representatives from civilian agencies of the United States, coordinating their activities with 60 to 100 soldiers. Each of the thirteen groups covers the reconstruction and security efforts of a single province. Afghan PRTs tend to concentrate their activities on rebuilding and reconstruction projects, due to the dilapidated state of the country's infrastructure.

In Iraq, PRTs are either paired or embedded. A paired PRT consists of a slightly larger complement of civilian agency representatives, who interface largely with province-level Iraqi government representatives. An embedded PRT is considerably smaller, and is co-located on a Brigade Combat Team's Forward Operating Base. Embedded PRTs work with sub-provincial and local levels of government. Both embedded and paired PRTs have focused their work on increasing the governance capacity of Iraq's leaders, rather than taking part in individual reconstruction projects.

President Bush praised this part of PRT's when he stated in June 2007 that, “These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen the moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance.” This is seen as one of the great achievements of the PRT structure. A report by the United States Institute of Peace’s Afghanistan Experience Project found that, "Provincial Reconstruction Teams fare well in reasonably permissive environments, where even a small, lightly-armed military force can make a meaningful contribution to regional security."[5] The use of PRTs in Afghanistan has shown that they are very cost effective structure.[6]


The use of PRTs in Afghanistan was the building block and testing ground of the operation. Currently there are over 30 PRTs operating in Afghanistan.[7] Although criticized for having a vague mandate and limited resources, PRTs have been generally seen as a success with NATO's mission in Afghanistan.[8]

PRTs operating in Afghanistan

  • Asadabad (USA)
  • Bamian (New Zealand)
  • Chagcharan (Lithuania)
  • Faizabad (Germany)
  • Farah (USA)
  • Gardez (USA)
  • Ghazni (USA)
  • Heart (Italy)
  • Jalalabad (USA)
  • Kandahar (USA)
  • Khowst (USA)
  • Kondoz (USA)
  • Lashkar Gah (USA)
  • Maimana (UK)
  • Mazar-e-Sharif (USA)
  • Mehtlaram (USA)
  • Parwan (USA)
  • Pul-i-Khumri (Netherlands)
  • Qalat (USA)
  • Qal-i-Naw (Spain)
  • Sharan (USA)
  • Tirin Khowt(USA) [9]


The United States stabilization mission in Iraq is using the PRT structure. This structure is being increased as part of the United States increase of troops in Iraq.[10] President Bush stated that, “[The United States] will double the number of provincial reconstruction teams."[11]