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Cablegate: Special Media Reaction: Afghans Warn Secretary of Defense

VZCZCXRO5856
OO RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #4008 3410415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070415Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1658
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3718
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4307
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 004008

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A, SCA/PPD, S/CRS, S/CT,
EUR/RPM, INL/CIVPOL, INR/R/MR, STATE FOR NSC WOOD, OSD FOR SHIVERS,
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PGOV PREL AF

SUBJECT: SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANS WARN SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
GATES AGAINST ARMING TRIBES AGAINST THE TALIBAN

1) SUMMARY: Afghan editorialists cited recent regional history in
urging U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to reject a reported
plan to arm Afghan tribes in the border areas with Pakistan. Media
reports from SECDEF's visit to Afghanistan on Dec. 3-5 included
suggestions by a "Defense official" that Gates was considering this
based on the success of a similar effort in Al-Anbar, Iraq. Afghan
commentators reacted to these reports with consternation and dismay,
arguing that such actions had already failed in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, and would only increase instability. END SUMMARY.

2) An unsigned editorial in independent daily Hasht-e-Sobh entitled
"Deal with Tribal Elders: U.S.'s Double Standard Policy in
Afghanistan," stated that, "U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M.
Gates is in Kabul to assess the affects of Pakistan's transition on
the southeastern regions of Afghanistan. Also to assess the
possibility of an agreement with the tribal elders, based upon the
U.S.'s experience in Iraq. The U.S. is concerned with rising
insecurity in the country and is seeking political solutions for the
problem, possibly through arming the tribes and providing financial
support to them. It is also said that the Canadian forces are
providing money to tribal elders in the southern province of
Kandahar.

If this new policy is implemented, it will raise major concerns
among the people, because those tribal elders will still support the
Taliban even after receiving a big amount of money. This was the
case with the tribal elders of the Waziristan region in Pakistan,
where the tribes supported the Taliban even after receiving big
amounts of money from the government. Now the government is in
active combat with those tribes and the Taliban.

The Taliban are stronger than the tribal elders and they have been
able to threaten and even kill some of the elders who intended to
support the government. Strengthening the tribes in the south will
result in subverting the government for long periods of time and
paving the path for the Taliban to achieve their goals very easily.

3) In an unsigned editorial the influential independent Kabul Weekly
entitled "The U.S. Military and the Need to Treat the Wound called
'The Pakistani tribes,'" wrote, "The [issue] which was discussed
during Mr. Gates' visit to Afghanistan was the arming of southern
tribes by the U.S. to fight the Taliban. The U.S. must be very
careful in this issue. The U.S. provided Gulbuddin Hekmatyar with
financial support and weapons during the jihad against the Soviets,
and after a short time he stood against the U.S. and supported
Saddam Hussain during the first Gulf War. He is still using the
remainder of that money and those weapons to fight against the U.S.
and the Afghan government.

If the U.S. provides the Afghan tribes with weapons and money there
is no guarantee that now or later they will not be used against
them. On the other hand, if the tribes in the southern regions are
armed, the tribes in the north and central regions will not feel
safe and will lose their trust in U.S. forces. Therefore the U.S.
should try to treat the sickness called the Taliban by choosing the
Afghan National Security Forces and by supporting them."

DELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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