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Cablegate: Hezbi-Islami Recruiting

VZCZCXRO6274
OO RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0259 0311455
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 311455Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2618
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//JF/UNMA//
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS KABUL 000259

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS,
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82, POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AF
SUBJECT: HEZBI-ISLAMI RECRUITING

REF: 07 Kabul 4179

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Over the past two months, members of
Hezbi-Islami-Afghanistan's (HIA) Executive Committee have visited
provincial officials and party faithful in Kunduz and Laghman
provinces to discuss plans for the region. In meetings with the
PRTs they claimed that provincial officials (including the
governors) had "welcomed" their presence. HIA representatives
claimed that they had registered as an official political party in
Laghman and opened an office in Mehtarlam, Laghman's provincial
capital. Further north, HIA is considering establishing party
shuras (councils) in Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan. HIA
representatives affirmed their support for a democratic government
in accordance with the Afghanistan constitution and disavowed any
current contact with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Endorsing conflict
resolution through peaceful means, representatives stated that "war
cannot finish a war" and urged a political accommodation with the
insurgents. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Over the last two months HIA Executive Committee Members
Mawlawi Janbaz Sarferaz, Head of Recruitment, and Sayed Rahman from
Logar Province, accompanied by local party members, called on PRTs
Mehtarlam (Laghman Province) and Kunduz to introduce themselves. In
each province they also met with the Governor, the local chief of
the National Directorate for Security, and the police chief to
discuss their activities. They asserted to the PRTs that local
officials in both provinces had welcomed them to their provinces and
"supported" their work. The purpose of their visits was to meet
with party members and to organize a formal party structure in
preparation for the 2009 presidential elections. Depending on
interest in the provinces, HIA may establish an office (existing
offices are in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar and Nimroz) or a shura
(existing shuras are in Laghman, Khost, Badghis and Ghor).

3. (SBU) Sarferaz presented HIA as a legitimate political party
seeking to mobilize and organize its base. He affirmed the party's
support for a democratic government in accordance with the
Afghanistan constitution. He expected the party's lack of
discrimination and anti-corruption stance to appeal to the
population, especially the youth. However, when pressed on the
question, it was difficult for him to outline a compelling party
platform other than a simple statement on peace and reconstruction
based on Islam.

4. (SBU) Sarferaz stated that HIA was in a unique position to work
with the insurgents and bring them into the government. He planned
to stress to the party faithful the pacific nature of the party and
encourage them to support reconstruction efforts. Sarferaz admitted
that HIA faced an uphill struggle convincing ordinary Afghans that
the group supports the government. He stressed to both PRTs that
HIA had severed ties with Hekmatyar and the military wing of the
party. When asked whether Hekmatyar supported suicide attacks, he
claimed that while Hekmatyar had been against them, he did not know
Hekmatyar's current stance.

WOOD

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