Khost PRT gets boots on the ground
August 16, 2009
FOWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan - On a hot and humid summer day in Khost City, Afghanistan, local Afghan citizens got a chance to meet and interact with the newest members of the Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team, Aug. 5.
The Khost PRT's visit to the city was not their first, however this was the first time Sailors, Soldiers and U.S. Department of State members from the Khost PRT walked the city streets to meet local business owners.
In the morning, the Khost PRT's mission was to go out in the city and talk to local Afghans on the streets about a variety of issues, including election concerns and voter intimidation, said Spc. Gilbert R. Smook, dismount security for the Khost PRT.
"You could see people were talking. People were gathering and asking a lot of questions," said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class David E. Skagen, a Khost PRT master at arms.
The Khost PRT hopes to show the local Afghans that they are here to help and that the Afghans can trust the coalition forces, said Sgt. Terry B. Cochran, team leader.
"A lot of learning was taking place on both sides," Skagen added. "It's a great way to get out there and build relationships."
The Khost PRT also took the opportunity to ask the locals if they've heard about the various candidates, if they were going to vote, and if there were any threats made against them concerning the upcoming election, said Army Staff Sgt. Daniel G. Fischer, squad leader, Khost PRT.
After the Khost PRT concluded their visit to the streets, the PRT members moved to the Civil Military Operations Center, located in the middle of Khost city.
At the CMOC, the Khost PRT took the opportunity to visit with various members of the community, such as contractors and line directors for the provincial development council, said Army Lt. Col. Robert Cooley, the deputy commanding officer of the Khost PRT.
There were about seven different meetings taking place during the mission to the CMOC, which is a safe place for the locals to come and meet with the Khost PRT, Cooley said.
The mission provided an opportunity for the Khost PRT to talk to locals about what's going on, what their concerns are, and what the Khost PRT can do to help them, Cochran said.