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Photo by Cpl. Timothy L. Solano

Second phase of transition plans reviewed during conference

30 Nov 2011 | By II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Public Affairs

“Tranche Two,” the second phase of transition in southwest Afghanistan was the highlight of a three-day conference aboard Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Nov. 10-13.

The upcoming inteqal, the Dari word for transition, or tranche, a similar German term that assumes the same meaning incorporates turning over authority to coalition leaders and provincial governmental organizers throughout both Nimroz and Helmand provinces, giving those organizations the lead with developing Nimroz province.

Afghan leaders traveled from as far away as Zaranj, a small metropolis in Nimroz province that skirts Iran, and Kabul, in the northern region of the country. Nimroz province is located in the extreme southwest corner of Afghanistan, and borders both Iran and Pakistan, making the region’s stability crucial to the success of NATO International Security Assistance Forces or ISAF.

“The value of this working group was to show that we are able to start to build common planning assumptions so we can go forward with the transition,” said Col. Mike Lawrence, Regional Command Southwest Nimroz provincial coordinator. “You can’t make a good plan unless you share common assumptions.”

Nimroz Provincial Governor Abdul Karim Barawi, Haji Alami, chief of staff to the Nimroz provincial governor, and other senior government officials and security forces from Nimroz attended to review plans for the province.

In the past, Nimroz province was a key stronghold for narcotics trafficking, which funded much of the Taliban insurgency. Due to upgraded security in the region, a direct result of conferences like these, Taliban movement has been much more restricted, said Lawrence.

Throughout southwest Afghanistan, the transition to Afghan control has been slow but steady. Leaders looked to emulate stability under Afghan rule in newly transitioned areas like Lashkar Gah in neighboring Helmand province, a show of promise for the future of Nimroz.

“What we were looking for in the conference was common understanding between GIRoA officials, ISAF higher level planners and between RCSW and GIRoA security in Nimroz,” Lawrence said.

After several briefs, meetings and breakout groups concerning the future of the province, a feeling of unanimity regarding the successful inteqal of the province left some looking to the past as an encouraging reminder of what can be accomplished when great minds come together.

“These kinds of planning groups give us a chance to reflect and see that we have really made some progress and that we really are on the right trajectory,” Lawrence said.