Unity of Effort shura a first for Uruzgan
November 28, 2012
TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - Tarin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, played host to a major national and regional development shura (conference) Oct. 20, 2012. The conference, dubbed the "Unity of Effort" shura was the first of its kind in southern Afghanistan.
Governors from Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan and the deputy governor of Daykundi met with several Afghan government ministers and the ambassadors from Australia and the Netherlands to discuss governance, development and security objectives.
Uruzgan Governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada hosted the shura.
"The conference was very important for the people of Uruzgan in many ways," Akhundzada said. "This was the first visit to Uruzgan by so many ministers, who until visiting did not understand the security situation in the province. It is now clear to the ministers that security is good, and sufficient for major development projects."
During the shura, the attendees agreed to commence plans for infrastructure, health, education, economic growth, reconciliation and post-transition security arrangements for southern Afghanistan.
Adrian Lochrin, the head of the Australian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team, said the shura was a milestone in Uruzgan's transition and an important step to connect provinces with the national government.
"The hosting of such an important regional conference in Tarin Kot is a credit to the capabilities of the provincial administration and Afghan security forces and reflects Governor Akhundzada's determination to win more attention for Uruzgan in Kabul," Lochrin said. "Strengthening coordination between the governors of southern Afghanistan and national ministers will be particularly significant for the future, as donor-funded activities are increasingly delivered through national programs."
Security for the meeting was coordinated by the Afghan National Security Forces, demonstrating the increasing capabilities of the police and army.
Col. Simon Stuart, the commander of the Australian-led Combined Team-Uruzgan, praised the Afghan security forces for the planning and coordination of the event.
"The police and army worked well to plan and implement security arrangements which ensured this important shura proceeded without disruption," Stuart said.
Uruzgan was included in the third tranche of the Inteqal transition, the process that entails security across the province transferring from ISAF to Afghan leadership. The "Unity of Effort" shura proved to be a big step in the transitional process.