“This was the first time in the life of the Hungarian PRT in Afghanistan that religious leaders, mullahs had initiated meetings with the leaders of the contingent. Among the topics of the discussion were the importance of education, the teaching of girls as well as women’s rights”

German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere paid a visit to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in the area of responsibility of the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-North (ISAF RC-N) in Afghanistan, accompanied by Maj.-Gen. Erich Pfeffer, the newly appointed commander of RC-N. There are Hungarian, Swedish, Turkish and Norwegian PRTs operating around the nine provinces in the AOR of the Germany-led ISAF RC-N. The German Defence Minister – who was on his very first visit to Camp Pannonia – was received by Col. Romulusz Ruszin and Lt.-Col. János Somogyi, the commanders of the 11th and 12th rotations of the HUN PRT. Col. Ruszin informed the guests in detail of the last six months’ experience. He said “our most reliable and proficient partner is the Afghan National Army (ANA)”. Besides security issues, they discussed the cooperation with the Afghan government and the religious leaders. In this respect, Lt.-Col. Somogyi was able to tell the guests about a quite significant event.

“This was the first time in the life of the HUN PRT that religious leaders, mullahs had initiated meetings with the leaders of the contingent. Among the topics of the discussion were the importance of education, the teaching of girls as well as women’s rights”, he said. “We have another success story to be proud of”, Col. Dr. József Nyerki, the advisor to the commander added. “Seventeen Afghan students on scholarship are studying Hungarian and English in Hungary, and after finishing the language courses, they are to continue their studies in various institutions of higher education in our country. We hope they will be able to make good use of their knowledge in building Afghanistan’s future”, he said.

Notwithstanding their tight schedule, the guests found time to take part in a short tour of the camp. The German Defence Minister first visited the operations center to learn about the daily work, then he inspected the motor transport (MT) where he showed interest in the capability of the BTR-80/A armored personnel carrier (APC). (Ministry of Defence)