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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operations of provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan which are beyond their military remit; and if he will make a statement.
The mission of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) is to extend the ability of the government of Afghanistan to deliver its services and this is conducted in a comprehensive manner by military and civilian personnel. The remit of a PRT is not military in nature, but rather uses military resources to facilitate its activities.
For example, the UK's PRT spent around £60 million in Helmand in 2008 on stabilisation and development and now has over 80 civilian staff in the province. This assistance has built nearly 2,000 wells benefiting over 400,000 people, contributed to 160 district infrastructure projects reaching over 300,000 families and provided paid work for nearly 19,000 people. The PRT has also supported projects on dispute resolution, which saw considerable progress in 2008: the Helmand Provincial Court is operating more effectively; convictions have risen 400 per cent. since June; and legal representation, including a legal aid office, has been introduced.