Afghan government takes over British-led PRT in Helmand

The British-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in southern province of Helmand formally handed over all its affairs to the Afghan government on Monday.

A ceremony in this regard in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, was attended by several British military personnel and Afghan provincial officials.

Speaking on the occasion, the head of mission for the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team (HPRT), Belinda Lewis, told the ceremony the team’s affairs and building had formally been transferred to the local authorities, but some of its mentors would remain until March.

From now on, she said, their overall aid would be spent through the Afghan government. "Our support toward Afghanistan will continue. In Helmand alone, $180 million will be spent on strengthening Afghan forces and executing reconstruction projects."

Meanwhile, Helmand governor, Al haj Muhammad Naeem expressed his profound gratitude and thanks to the UK for its valuable assistance to Afghanistan through the HPRT, hoping for the assistance to continue.

Created in 2006, the HPRT was initially run by the American troops before they were replaced by British forces.