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Chagcharan, the capital of Ghor province, is also the main town in remote Ghor province, 220 miles [350 kilometers] west of Kabul. Ghor [Ghowr or Ghur] is a mountainous region and province (1979 est. pop. 341,000), covering 14,085 sq mi (36,479 sq km), in west central Afghanistan. It includies a ruined medieval city of the same name. The powerful Muslim Ghorid dynasty was established in the former city of Ghor in the 12th century. It was overthrown by Muhammad of Khwarazm in 1215. Mongols under Jenghiz Khan took Ghor in 1221, after which the Karts (Mongol clients) ruled (c.1245-1379). The city of Ghor then lapsed into obscurity.

Two decades of war in Afghanistan, including a decade-long Soviet occupation and ensuing civil strife, left Afghanistan impoverished and mired in an extended humanitarian crisis. Government infrastructure, including the ability to deliver the most basic health, education, and other social services, has collapsed.

In late 2001 World Food Program (WFP) food assistance arriving in country was being delivered through Pakistan, with additional shipments planned through Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Iran for the north, northeastern, and western provinces. Food assistance is being delivered to beneficiaries through WFP's local NGO partners. However, in certain areas, such as Chagcharan in Ghor, a lack of partners made distribution difficult.

By late 2003 the existing network of stations was already broadcasting important news stories facing the communities they serve: stories such as political developments, updates on infrastructure improvement, agricultural advances and educational opportunities. Radio stations were to be set up in Qarabagh, Khost, Balkh, Konduz Chagcharan and Baraki Barak during early 2004.

Warlords overran this provincial capital, forcing the governor to flee and leaving 10 people dead. Fighters armed with machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades seized Chagcharan. Govenor Mohammed Ibrahim fled to Herat, while his deputy and a group of nominally loyal militiamen and police to regrouped in a village a few kilometers to the north of Chagcharan. The fighting followe weeks of tension between allies of the provincial military commander Ahmad Murghabi, who was also driven out, and rival tribes over positions in the local administration. A group led by commander Rais Salam launched the attack after rejecting an offer of control of four government departments, including police and intelligence.

The US military sent a B-1B bomber over the city to calm the fighting while it evacuated beleaguered UN staff by helicopter. President Hamid Karzai decided to send a battalion from the new U.S.-trained Afghan National Army to Chagcharan. Some 200 troops were initially sent by road from the western city of Herat, and another 500 followed shortly.

Chagcharan Provincial Reconstruction Team [PRT]

Late in the summer of 2005, two more NATO-led PRTs became operational, completing the International Security Assistance Force's expansion into western Afghanistan, Tissot van Patot said in a published statement. Lithuania led the new PRT in Chagcharan, capital of Ghor province, and Spain led the PRT in Qaleh-Now, capital of Baghdis province.

As of mid-June 2005 deployment operations for the PRT in Chagcharan were well underway. Since June 6, ISAF had received seven C-17 cargo flights to airlift both Lithuanian personnel and equipment into Herat Forward Support Base. Herat provided the staging base support for Lithuanians as they receive the final cargo flights that brought their remaining equipment into Afghanistan.

As of mid-June 2005, there were more than 80 Lithuanian Forces on the ground now in Herat. They were already training and have been out on the range and familiarizing themselves with ISAF operations in the western region. The formal move into Chagcharan occured in late June by ground convoy and also by C-130 airlift flights. The plan was to have PRT Chagcharan operational by mid-July under the command of Col. Gintautas Zenke-Vicius.

The PRT also established a military medical treatment facility and soon thereafter began active patrols throughout their area of operations. CIMIC project work was ongoing in the Chagcharan under the auspices of USAID, and PRT Chagcharan staff began to support CIMIC operations over the course of the following months.

Preliminary tasks for the PRT were to strengthen professional and personal ties with the local government officials in Chagcharan and in Ghor Province. Lithuanian forces also worked closely with ANA forces that deployed into the Chagcharan area in mid-June 2005. Approximately one company of ANA assisted Lithuanian forces in the set up of their PRT operations.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:32:02 ZULU