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Cablegate: Prt Qalat: Governor Led Eradication in Zabul

VZCZCXRO2763
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1352/01 1111313
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211313Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7642
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3988

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001352

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A, S/CRS, SA/PB, S/CT,
EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC PASS FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD, JICCENT
REL NATO/ISAF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER ASEC MARR AF SNAR KCRM
SUBJECT: PRT QALAT: GOVERNOR LED ERADICATION IN ZABUL

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) Governor Led Eradication (GLE) is underway in Zabul
province and is looking to expand and cut into what could be
an increase in poppy production in Zabul this growing season.
Through April 15, UNODC has verified 200 hectares of
eradication in the province. PRTOff observed the eradication
of several fields in a district along Highway 1, though the
plan for eradication in the province places priority on
several districts to the north of the ring road. According
to Zabul's Director of Counter Narcotics, the necessary UNODC
surveyors are not yet present for the desired expansion of
the eradication effort. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Governor Led Eradication efforts in Zabul province are
currently focused on the Tarnak wa Jaldak district, the
district on the ring road closest to Kandahar. PRTOff
observed a morning of poppy eradication efforts on March 26
in the district, accompanied by the district leader, the
district chief of police, and the Zabul Director of Counter
Narcotics. Eradication in Zabul this year is new, as no
eradication took place in 2005 or 2006. Through April 15,
UNODC has verified 200 hectares of eradication in the
province.

3. (U) PRToff observed eradication in fields less than 100
meters off Highway 1 that were at varying levels of
maturity. The first field was quite young and fairly
small. Using three brand new tractors, and flanked by ANP
personnel watching the surrounding ridges, drivers somewhat
erratically plowed the fields under. The second, much larger
field was more mature with bulbs about to flower. The farmer
who owned the field was present to view the eradication. Not
at all hesitant to talk to us (or have His picture taken), he
complained that he grew poppy because it was easy and he
could not obtain the seeds to grow legitimate crops. Noting
that winter snow and rain had filled the nearby karezes
(wells), he told PRTOff that irrigation was not a problem
this year. Interspersed with the poppy was a legitimate
caraway crop which the farmer complained was being destroyed
along with the poppy.

4. (U) UNODC's "Winter Assessment Survey" predicted a
slight increase in cultivation in Zabul province. In 2006,
UNODC estimated that Zabul cultivated 3,210 hectares (CNC
reported 1,400 hectares of poppy). Embassy, responding to
information that there was significant cultivation along the
highway running from Kandahar to Kabul, earlier investigated
the viability of using the Afghan Eradication Force (AEF) to
eradicate fields in the area after departing from Helmand.
INL conducted an aerial reconnaissance of the region on April
1 and found that there was less cultivation than expected and
an insufficient amount to make the AEF's deployment
cost-effective.

5. (U) Zabul's Director of Counter Narcotics this spring
prepared an eradication plan for the Governor, who endorsed
it and directed district leaders to support eradication
efforts. The highest priority districts were Mizan, Deh
Chopan and Arghandab. However, these Districts were less
secure than Jaldak, which is why the eradication ultimately
began there. The Governor and the CN Director want to see
eradication move forward in the other districts but told
PRTOff that they did not have the promised UNODC surveyors
required to verify the eradication. In a subsequent meeting
with several of the high priority district leaders, they told
PRTOff that they were ready and willing to support
eradication as soon as the UNODC verification teams could
arrive. (NOTE: Embassy later contacted UNODC and confirmed
that three more verifiers had joined the one assigned to the
province. According to UNODC, however, the verifiers have
not been able to coordinate any activity with the provincial

KABUL 00001352 002 OF 002


officials and have not observed any recent eradication. At
this point in the season, eradication appears to be
proceeding at a hesitant pace. Note, also, that governors
often blame the absence of UNODC verifiers for insufficient
eradication totals. END NOTE)

6. (U) The district leader from Jaldak told PRTOff that
people are showing up at his office every day complaining
that eradication is taking away their only livelihood and
their means of feeding their families when they plow the
poppy fields under. He asked for PRT assistance in helping
these families. The PRT is assessing the needs of the local
population. If valid needs exist, the PRT will explore ways
to help the community without a quid pro quo for poppy
eradication.


WOOD

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