U.S. servicemembers meet with a member of a local Kuchi tribe residing in Bawka district in Farah province, Afghanistan, June 12, 2010. The servicemembers, assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah, visited three villages in the district to gather information on the needs of the village residents and to promote the importance of seeking government assistance to help resolve those needs.

ISAF reconstruction teams are key to counterinsurgency strategy.

Joining Forces to Rebuild Afghanistan

July 2010, Number 01.03

“From their headquarters on the road from Kabul to Kandahar, in the heart of Pashtun-dominated Afghanistan, more than 100 Turkish civilians plan a more prosperous future for a province whose industrial base consists of little more than a neglected marble quarry.

The Turkish Provincial Reconstruction Team, or PRT, works out of Wardak province. As part of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, the team has rebuilt a mosque, opened a maternity clinic and trained scores of Afghan police officers. Turkish investment in this region west of Kabul has totaled more than $20 million.

But Turkey’s ambitions are larger. Enlisting farmers who scratch out a meager living growing apples, maize and wheat on the province’s rocky soil, the Turkish team has opened an experimental farm to grow saffron. The spice, made up of delicate flower filaments laboriously collected by hand, has earned the name “red gold” for its lofty price — $500 to $5,000 per pound, based on the quality.

In a country that naysayers complain breeds little but fratricidal strife and opium poppies, saffron would provide a model crop for Afghans struggling with subsistence...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Joining Forces to Rebuild Afghanistan,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 3, 2010: 40-43.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.