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Cablegate: Minister of Hajj and Endowment Friendly To

VZCZCXRO0586
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1685 1400512
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200512Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8188
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASH DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY 0030
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4079

UNCLAS KABUL 001685

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR HARRIMAN
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76 POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PHUM AF
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF HAJJ AND ENDOWMENT FRIENDLY TO
COALITION PRESENCE

REF: KABUL 1478

1. On May 19, Ambassador paid a courtesy visit to
Minister of Hajj and Endowment (sometimes referred to
as Minister of Hajj and Islamic Affairs) Nehmatullah
Shahrani. Minister Shahrani, who dictates and
distributes themes for Friday sermons to those mosques
and religious leaders officially registered with the
Ministry (a minority of all Afghan mosques), is a
moderate. A former student of comparative law at
George Washington University, he indicated
friendliness toward the foreign military presence,
support for counternarcotics efforts, and an anti-
Taliban sentiment.

2. Ambassador and Minister Shahrani discussed the
recent incident in Jalalabad in which a young Afghan
woman seriously injured during a coalition operation
against the Taliban was transported without a male
relative or local elder by Coalition forces for
medical treatment at Bagram (Ref). Local elders were
infuriated by this action and deemed it contrary both
to Islam and to Afghan customs. Given that the
woman's life was in danger, Minister Shahrani said her
transport was not inconsistent with the principles of
Islam. He said only local tradition and
interpretation created the tension and public outcry.
He told the Ambassador that he is doing all he can to
calm and educate people regarding the issue. In
addition, Ambassador and Minister Shahrani discussed
the Islamic themes that might have resonance in the
counternarcotics campaign in Afghanistan.
WOOD

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