PRT and State Department Ignorance Fails Us All by Pete Turner, Zenpundit
… Ignorance, arrogance and incompetence by the local Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), Anne and her Department of State (DoS) peers surely contributed to her death, and the death of multiple soldiers. I know that statement is pretty inflammatory…and it’s part of the reason why I waited 3 years to tell the tale. Please read the attached article for the required context. Also, read Peter Van Buren’s (former DoS boss) HuffPo blog in which he also criticizes DoS competence in this tragedy.
I worked in the same area as Anne, but I’d left about a year prior to her arrival. It’s unfortunate that my research partner and I didn’t get a chance to meet her. If we had, she would have been armed with some information that could have saved her life. It is also unfortunate that the knowledge we gained while working in Qalat left apparently left with us.
Before going any further, my partner, Dr. Ledet and I conducted research into improving education in the province. Specifically, we were tasked with learning how the US should distribute learning materials to Afghans, and we did so by working with tribal, religious, and political leaders in the area. Our report was distributed to the PRT, US military and the DoS working in the areas, and briefed to higher authorities. The senior Afghan Ministry of Education (MoE) representative for the province, and multiple leaders we consulted, provided us with the solution regarding how the US could help improve education.
Our Afghan partners clearly and forcefully stated, US elements were not, under any circumstances, to provide books directly to Afghan children.
Yet, Anne and the others died on a book delivery operation. WTF?...