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Cablegate: Musa Qala Reconstruction Planning

VZCZCXRO2865
OO RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0019/01 0020534
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020534Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2172
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 4338
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 000019

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO DAS CAMP, SCA/A, INL/FO, INL/AP
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82 POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: MUSA QALA RECONSTRUCTION PLANNING

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The GIRoA, the U.S., and the UK are cooperating
on post-operation development in the recently liberated district of
Musa Qala. UK Military Stabilization Team (MST) Officers in Musa
Qala are implementing a joint UK and Afghan stabilization plan but
need USAID support for the effort. The city is in good condition
and many buildings require only refurbishment and supplies to
support medical and education projects. Musa Qala has electricity,
supplies are reaching the city and the district center is secure.
Reconstruction efforts are underway but additional support is needed
to initiate the larger building programs. USAID is prepared to
provide some immediate support, but is more focused on sustainable
progress in Musa Qala, by preparing to move rapidly to support
livelihood and governance development in the district.

Current Situation in Musa Qala
------------------------------

2. (SBU) An embassy team traveled to Musa Qala on December 29. They
met with the MST, and with Haji Pir Mohammad, acting District
Administrator of Musa Qala, and Haji Omar, Helmand Provincial
Director for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development
(MRRD).

3. (U) Based on the visit, we have assessed that there is no need
for humanitarian assistance. Basic health care and medicine are
widely accessible; food and fuel are available in the bazaar; and
there is little damage to private homes. They also reported that
the commercial bazaar is open, but the adjacent (illegal) drug
bazaar is closed. The school was found in good condition, and is
receiving cosmetic repairs before reopening in mid-January.
Furthermore, electricity continues to flow into the district center
although it is subject to the same planned rolling blackouts that
the provincial capital experiences.

4. (U) The local population have engaged with both ISAF and the
Government. Two shuras have been held at the ISAF-controlled
district center. Each shura was attended by over 300 participants,
demonstrating community willingness to engage. Afghan National
Security Forces, including the police, army and counter-narcotics
police, are operating in the area and are thus far being respected
by the community.

UK-Designed Development Assistance for Musa Qala
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (U) On December 17 the UK-led Helmand PRT distributed a Brief on
the Combined Reconstruction Plan for Musa Qala. The plan is based on
a $13.8 million joint contribution from the GIRoA, the UK, and the
USG. The USG contribution is pegged at $5.6 million to fund an
electricity generation farm and a "cash-for-work" program. The
plan, however, was written before a proper assessment was performed.
GIRoA and USAID have now completed several trips to Musa Qala in
order to develop a USG assistance package that meets the needs of
the district's population.

7. (U) The GIRoA has subsequently asked that USAID and Task Force
Helmand (TFH) not pursue the proposed electricity generator farm for
Musa Qala, as the town receives a regular supply of electricity from
nearby Kajaki Dam. Similarly, previously proposed cash-for-work
programs were based on a belief there would be widespread
destruction within the city and such programs would be required to
rebuild the district center while injecting cash into the community
to allow individuals to rebuild homes. The fighting did not result
in the feared level of destruction, and after consultations, USAID
and GIRoA officials determined that large scale cash-for-work is not
appropriate.

USAID-Proposed Musa Qala Assistance Package
-------------------------------------------

8. (U) Now that military "clearing" operations have concluded the
priority is shifting to "holding" ground and "building" GIRoA
authority. The following is an initial, proposed USG contribution to
establishing GIRoA authority in Musa Qala, while offering meaningful
licit livelihood opportunities for farmers:

-- The GIRoA has asked USAID for immediate support and USAID has

KABUL 00000019 002 OF 003


agreed to assist. USAID has already made charter flights available
to move Afghan officials back and forth between Kabul and Lashkar
Gah. Additionally, USAID will provide furnishings for government
offices and public meeting rooms.

-- Once a permanent District Administrator and District Shura are
appointed, USAID will provide $1 million to fund their priority
projects. Projects will be nominated and agreed by the District
Administrator and District Shura before being confirmed by
provincial authorities. Projects will be jointly executed by
district officials and USAID's Local Governance and Community
Development (LGCD) Program, with an eye to streamlining USAID's
procedures to the extent feasible and to ensuring that the projects
are seen as GIRoA activities, not USG activities.

-- The Ministry of Energy and Water has requested that USAID make
minor improvements to the electrical distribution system in Musa
Qala, and USAID is reviewing this request. Additionally USAID has
agreed to build and furnish a small office for the local Director of
Energy and Water to facilitate revenue collection that will fund
network maintenance.

-- When security permits NGOs and USAID to move freely between the
provincial capital of Lashkar Gah and Musa Qala, USAID is prepared
to offer contract farming opportunities to five hundred farming
families (one third of the Musa Qala population). Under this
program, recipients will be provided seed and technical assistance
and linked to buyers for the crops. USAID currently plans to provide
$1 million for this program, which will be managed by USAID's
Alternative Development Program/South in partnership with the
Ministry of Agriculture, again with a focus on downplaying the USG's
direct role.

-- Additionally Combined Security Training Center-Afghanistan has
plans to build a new police station in Musa Qala to be completed by
the end of 2008. USAID and CSTC-A's commitments to Musa Qala have a
total value of approximately $3 million.

UK & GIRoA Assistance Package for Musa Qala
-------------------------------------------

9. (U) The MRRD has agreed to contribute $3.86 million to Musa
Qala's reconstruction, focusing on roads, water, mosques and
compensation. Negotiations between the UK and GIRoA are ongoing
over specific projects. The following outlines preliminary
commitments, some of which already represent a change from the 17
December plan.

10. (U) Specific GIRoA commitments:

-- 32 Community-defined Projects ($560,000)
-- Musa Qala Central Mosque
-- 4 small city Mosques
-- 2 bridges
-- 2 water towers
-- 500 wells
-- Musa Qala to Sangin asphalt Road - 17 Km
-- Central Bazaar Road - 1.5 KM
-- Yateemchi Road - 5 km
-- Flood defenses for 7 villages
-- Compensation for damaged properties

11. (U) For its part, the UK has agreed to contribute $4.31 million
to fund programs focused on health, education and governance.

Specific UK commitments:

Health
-- Comprehensive Health Clinic
-- District Hospital
-- Basic Health Clinic

Education
-- High School Renovation
-- High School Education Store
-- 16 new schools - outer villages of Musa Qala


KABUL 00000019 003 OF 003


Governance
-- District Center Administrative Building
-- Governor's Residence refurbishment
-- Governor's Residence internet installation
-- Shura Support

(COMMENT: The UK funding level and projects identified here are
based on cost and need estimates made before military operations
ceased. USAID anticipates that the UK will revise and lower costs,
as well as scale back programs once site surveys are completed.)

Musa Qala: A Microcosm of Reconstruction Efforts?
--------------------------------------------- ---

12. (SBU) Musa Qala is arguably a microcosm of what we face in our
effort to rebuild Afghanistan. Musa Qala has been the best-known
Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan for the past year. Under their
control, it became a narcotics center, where traffickers and Taliban
could profit from the entire production chain from raw poppy to
finished heroin. Now that we have driven out the Taliban and shut
down the drug market, it is time to focus on the "hold" and "build"
parts of the "clear-hold-build" continuum that is the coalition
mantra here in Afghanistan.

13. (U) The GIRoA is supporting the effort by asserting the
importance of sub-national governance. The newly formed IDLG
(Independent Directorate for Local Governance) is convening a shura
to confirm a new district administrator for Musa Qala, and the MRRD
is taking a lead role in revising the post-operation development.

14. (SBU) Our joint success or failure in Musa Qala will be taken as
an indicator of how effective the GIRoA is at delivering governance
and services at the local level. In order to help realize success,
the USG must provide financial and technical support, as well as
provide guidance to the Afghans on how to coordinate this effort.
We will work closely with the GIRoA to ensure all relevant line
ministries are mobilized to meet the Musa Qala challenge and are
coordinated in their efforts to ensure that the central government
is seen by district inhabitants as a competent and committed
deliverer of government services.

WOOD

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