Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) became to the development-security nexus what light bulbs were to electricity. Before Edison’s invention, many people would have heard of electricity, but few would have understood its meaning. Only by direct application of the abstract phenomenon to practice was the utility of electricity illuminated and explained. The notion of a direct relationship between security and development has been around for years (CBO 1994), culminating in the 2011 World Development Report entitled Conflict, Security and Development. But until the international engagement in Afghanistan in response to the 11 September 2001 attacks, and particularly NATO’s International Security Assistance Force operation, there were few tangible manifestations of the concept. PRTs were just that: a real-life application of the security-development nexus in the form of hybrid civil-military units deployed in a conflict zone. As such, they were a unique example of international and inter-agency efforts to implement a comprehensive approach to stabilization.
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