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Cablegate: Dole Ceo's Visit to Kabul

VZCZCXRO0412
RR RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1448/01 1191151
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291151Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7751
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0438
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4005

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001448

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR F, SCA/FO, SCA/RA, AND SCA/A
PASS AID/A JKUNDER, ANE MWARD
PASS OPIC AND TDA
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN, BCAMP
TREASURY PASS TO LMCDONALD, ABAUKOL, AND JCIORCIARI
OSD FOR BREZINZSKI
COMMERCE FOR DEES

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
SIPDIS

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV EFIN ENRG ETRD ECON AF
SUBJECT: DOLE CEO'S VISIT TO KABUL


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

1. (SBU) Mr. David Murdock, CEO, Chairman and Owner of Dole Foods
Company, visited Afghanistan from April 21-24, 2007 at the request
of President Bush. He toured productive agricultural areas of
Afghanistan in Parwan and Balkh provinces and was joined by
Ambassador Wood at two meetings with President Karzai to discuss
potential Dole investments in Afghanistan. Murdock expressed
interest in investing Dole resources to develop productive
enterprises in five areas: fruit and vegetable canning, marble
mining, carpet cutting and washing, cashmere processing, and caracul
processing. End summary.

------------------------
DOLE TOUR OF AFGHANISTAN
------------------------

2. (SBU) David Murdock visited Afghanistan with Danko Stambuk, Dole
Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, and Jaime Villacorta, Dole
Director of Agricultural Operations. For part of the trip he was
joined by OPIC President Rob Mosbacher. The visit was timed to
coincide with the Ministry of Agriculture's U.S.-assisted AgFair, a
three-day event for agricultural buyers, sellers and organizations
at a newly constructed fairground containing 200 display booths and
permanent fairground structures. The AgFair received local and
international media coverage and was attended by approximately
30,000 Afghan visitors. Murdock visited the AgFair site and later
told President Karzai that he wanted to develop a 300 acre, high
tech teaching farm on the GoA land adjacent to the AgFair site and
dedicate the farm on his next visit to Afghanistan.

3. (SBU) Murdock, the Dole vice presidents, USAID/ANE Senior Deputy
Assistant Administrator Mark Ward, and USAID/Afghanistan Mission
Director Leon "Skip" Waskin met with Major General Rodriguez,
Commander of CJTF-82 before touring vineyards and a vegetable
dehydration plant in the Charikar/Bagram area. The following day,
the same group toured north Afghanistan by air and also met with the
Mazar-i-Sharif PRT commander and the Governor. Murdock was
impressed with the economic potential of the Mazar-i-Sharif area and
northern Afghanistan.

--------------------
MEETING WITH KARZAI
--------------------

4. (SBU) Murdock and Ambassador Wood met with President Karzai on
two occasions during his four-day trip. At the second meeting,
Murdock explained his thoughts and opinions on developing major
investment activities in Afghanistan. In terms of land, Murdock
expressed interest in large areas of good land (10,000+ acres) with
plenty of available water such as that found around Kunduz and Balkh
(in the north). President Karzai expressed his full support for
Murdock's proposals and committed that the GOA would provide any
land that was needed, although specific terms were not discussed.

5. (SBU) Murdock also expressed interest in five areas of business
development: 1) large scale canning operations for vegetables and
fruit including refrigeration containers and all related logistics
services needed for large scale contract farming; 2) modern marble
mining operations including diamond-bladed cutting tools and modern
marble finishing to take place in Afghanistan; 3) one or more modern
carpet cutting and washing plants to produce finished carpets from
those already produced by hand in Afghanistan; 4) a cashmere
processing plant to produce finished cashmere products so that
Afghan producers can make more money; 5) a karakul (soft wool)
processing plant. Karzai promised full support for all the
activities mentioned by Murdock including the legal establishment of
Dole Foods Inc. in Afghanistan and the commitment of government
land.

-----------------
DOLE JOB CREATION

KABUL 00001448 002 OF 002


-----------------

6. (SBU) Murdock offered to invest in Afghanistan immediately to
create 10,000 or more jobs given the conditions that the Government
of Afghanistan would support his efforts by providing the available
land both to Dole and to contract farmers with clear titles. Dole
would need the land to build the five processing plants described
above. Murdock also expressed his desire to start very quickly and
announce something in the next few months. Murdock spoke of
bringing in computer controlled, state of the art equipment for each
separate industry. Murdock spoke of creating 10,000 jobs in the
first three years and 20,000 soon after that.

-------------
FUTURE VISITS
-------------

7. (SBU) Murdock expressed his intention to return soon to
Afghanistan on condition that he be allowed to land his private
plane in any airport in the country. Karzai promised that Murdock
could land his plane at any of the international airports in the
country. Murdock and Karzai discussed markets in Central Asia,
Pakistan and India as well as other possible production areas
including Jalalabad, Herat, Parwan, and Kandahar. Murdock and
Karzai agreed that all these areas would be explored during
Murdock's next visit. Murdock concluded by confirming his intention
to review these plans with President Bush in person upon his return
to the United States. Murdock and Karzai agreed that the planting
of the teaching farm at the AgFair site should begin immediately and
that an advance team should precede Murdock's next visit. Murdock
expressed high interest in returning in the next two months and
personally visiting all the marble mines, carpet processing centers,
cashmere processing centers and karakul processing centers to better
understand the needs and to begin planning for investments
immediately.

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) Murdock's plans fit very well with the USG's commercial
agriculture development strategy for Afghanistan and especially with
the planned expansion of the Alternative Livelihoods Program to the
northwest. As both projects progress, USAID will coordinate closely
with Dole to promote the greatest public-private synergies possible
in a formal, or perhaps informal, alliance. End comment.

WOOD

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