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Cablegate: Amb Visit: Development, Policing And

VZCZCXRO5240
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #3914/01 3300937
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260937Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1542
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003914

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA.FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A,
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-82 AND POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER EAID AF
SUBJECT: AMB VISIT: DEVELOPMENT, POLICING AND
RECONCILIATION KEY IN PAKTIA PROVINCE

REF: KABUL 2341

1. (SBU) During the Ambassador's November 12 visit to Paktia
province in the east, locals stressed the key themes of
security and development in the province. In meetings with
the Governor, Provincial Council, and Provincial Development
Council, the Ambassador underscored the U.S. dedication to
partnering with the Afghans in policing and rehabilitation
efforts, our respect for Islam and the U.S. commitment to
development projects in the east. Gardez MPs who met with
the Ambassador prior to the trip in Kabul raised what they
saw as problems with U.S. efforts to rehabilitate former
insurgents.

SECURITY SEEN AS KEY
--------------------
2. (SBU) During the Ambassador's November 12 meetings with
Gardez Provincial Governor Rahmatullah Rahmat, members of the
Provincial Council, Provincial Development Council and the
local ulema council, security emerged as a key theme.
Governor Rahmat, speaking forcefully, stressed that security
was the key challenge in the province, but he also
highlighted the need for better governance and more rule of
law. Rahmat noted his wish, echoed by many other eastern
representatives, for a community-based policing system
organized along tribal lines, which he said would work in
Paktia to strengthen border security. The Governor's
comments on the need for community policing echoed those of
Paktia MPs, who had met with the Ambassador in Kabul on
November 10. The Ambassador acknowledged to both the
Governor and the MPs the importance of tribal alliances in
the country, but stressed the need for national oversight of
any local police force in order to avoid favoritism and
selective application of the law. He underlined the
importance of loyalty to the central government.

3. (SBU) All groups highlighted the need to strengthen the
Program Takhim-e-Solhi (PTS), the "Strengthening the Peace"
reconciliation program. MP from the upper house Bakhtar
Aminzai noted concerns regarding insecurity in the province,
and complained that he felt that PTS, as it currently
functions, is a "weak, failed program." In contrast, MP Gul
Padsha Mojadidi expressed support for PTS and its
continuation. The Ambassador underlined the U.S. commitment
to PTS and its improvement. He reiterated the position that
any member of the Taliban who wished to live a decent life
should be able to do so under PTS, with proper monitoring to
ensure compliance with the program.

4. (SBU) Responding to a query from a Provincial Council
member regarding possible opium poppy eradication programs,
the Ambassador said that, thus far, the international
community was concerned that, if effective eradication action
were taken, there would be violence. The international
community wished to avoid an additional complication in an
already hard situation. Gardez Chief of Police Brigadier
General Ismatullah responded that there would be support for
any possible eradication programs.

DEVELOPMENT ISSUES ALSO RAISED
------------------------------
5. (SBU) Development issues were discussed at length by all
interlocutors, with appeals for roads, electricity projects,
madrassas and hospitals voiced in all meetings. The
Ambassador and USAID Mission Director outlined U.S.
assistance to the province, highlighting the Gardez-Khost
road, which Governor Rahmat said would be key to moving
people and goods to improve commerce in the province. Both
MP Mohammad Dawood Zazai and Governor Rahmat queried the
Ambassador about a planned USAID-funded hospital in Gardez
city. USAID Mission Director noted that the funding for the
project would be approved shortly, with construction slated
to begin in mid 2008. The Ambassador, in each meeting, noted
that more assistance was going to Gardez Province during the
current year than had been provided in the five previous
years, and reiterated the U.S. commitment to keeping the
Gardez-Khost pass usable over the winter. Responding to
requests for support for madrassas, the Ambassador underlined
U.S. respect for Islam and religious education institutions.

KABUL 00003914 002 OF 002


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