Daykundi province continues to be a model province for the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program. A staggering 257 insurgents joined the program within the last month, giving officials optimism for the future of the program in the Uruzgan region.
The APRP is a three-phase transitional program implemented by the Afghan government to provide former insurgents an opportunity to stop fighting and become contributing members of the Afghan community.
On Dec. 10, a visible key leader engagement led by Daykundi provincial governor Qurban Ali Uruzgani and Australian army Col. Simon Stuart, the Combined Team Uruzgan commander, discussed the future of the program and culminated a week of coalition activities in Nili related to the recent reintegration of former insurgents within the province.
The group also conducted visits to an all-girls school and the Nili Airfield the same day. Both facilities are undergoing construction as the province continues to improve its community and education standards.
During the KLE, Stuart said he hoped to increase Daykundi's representation in Kabul in non-government and government organizations. He also ensured officials he would not promise support he cannot provide.
Stuart was joined by Lt. Col. John Dietrick, the Uruzgan and Daykundi Afghan hand, a specially trained coalition soldier who builds relationships with Afghan partners. Dietrick had just concluded a week-long visit in Nili to mentor the provincial peace council chairman/deputy chairman and assess the APRP representative in Daykundi.
According to Dietrick, the Peace and Reintegration shura was held to welcome new reintegrees, explain program dynamics, manage project expectations, answer program questions, and plan future events. He also discussed the efficiency of the Daykundi government.
"The Daykundi leadership is proactive rather than reactive. They are not standing by waiting for assistance or answers; rather, they go out and do what they can with the resources they currently have - it's impressive," Dietrick said.
The Daykundi program has not reached its full potential, however, he said. With the full support from the joint secretariat, the high peace council and other partners, the province has the potential to show what the APRP can accomplish in Afghanistan, Dietrick said.
Stuart was specifically impressed by the leadership's emphasis on education.
"I admire and respect the high priority that the people of Nili and Daykundi place on education," Stuart said.
During a recent visit to one of the girls' school in Nili, Stuart spoke about the importance of education and mentioned the advice he gives to his daughter.
"Work very hard at school and learn from your teachers, because you are the future of your country," Stuart said.
Dietrick said Daykundi province has shown great progress and promise for the future.
"Daykundi is impressive with regard to governance and building a future. What stood out is its high education standards and opportunities for women, especially in education," Dietrick said. "Last year, over 4,700 students graduated from high school, of which 45.7 percent were female."
Article by Sgt. 1st Class Theresa Gualdarama, Army.mil