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Cablegate: Paktika Super Shura Is a Super Success

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RR RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0298 0370342
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060342Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2676
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS KABUL 000298

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS AF
SUBJECT: PAKTIKA SUPER SHURA IS A SUPER SUCCESS

1. (U) SUMMARY: District shura and government leaders from
throughout Paktika province met in the provincial capital,
Sharana, for three days in a "super shura" (gathering of
elders). The shura was a huge success with a large number of
attendees from diverse backgrounds, energetic debates, and
creative solutions to provincial challenges. The event was a
historic meeting of all of the tribal groups present in the
province along with Members of Parliament (MPs) and several
Kabul-based representatives from key ministries. More than
600 Afghans attended to discuss the challenges facing Paktika
and to propose a comprehensive slate of solutions requiring
action from the central government and from provincial and
tribal leaders.

Attendees from the Entire Province and Diverse Backgrounds
--------------------------------------------- -------------
2. (U) Paktika Governor Muhammad Akram Khpalwak assembled a
three-day province-wide shura that included representatives
from all 23 district shuras (19 official districts and four
self-proclaimed) and 22 of 23 District Administrators. The
Governor and the Provincial Council (PC) secured
participation from all major tribal groups, GIRoA officials,
and from the Kuchi (a nomadic tribe). Two of Paktika's eight
MPs, the Minister for Communications and Information
Technology, and several representatives from the Ministries
of Health, Education, Water and Energy, and Rural
Rehabilitation and Development attended the final day. The
International Community footprint was light, limited largely
to logistics and security support. Participants divided into
five working groups to address governance, security,
development, education and tribal reconciliation issues.
Each group was made up of representatives from all of the 23
district shuras.

The Working Groups' Conclusions
-------------------------------
3. (U) The working groups' solutions centered on a few key
themes. First, provincial leaders recognized the dearth of
educated and professional staff at all levels of government,
particularly the health, education and security sectors.
Leaders called on the GIRoA to recruit and post teachers to
Paktika. They requested that the ministries adopt a more
flexible approach when recruiting people to work in the
province and suggested both financial incentives and the
provision of secure housing as key recruitment tools.
Second, participants focused on the need to delegate
financing for development projects to the ministries' line
directors in Sharana as a way to control the types of
projects funded and the selection of contractors. The shura
agreed that contracting local communities for the building of
smaller projects was the preferred approach. Finally,
leaders agreed that the district shuras should bear
additional responsibilities for the recruitment of Afghan
National Security Forces, the protection of construction and
development projects, and the provision of labor and
materials to contribute to the future of the province.

4. (U) On the final day of the shura, each working group
presented its findings to a plenary session of about 600
people. Key conclusions will be presented to the relevant
ministries. Governor Khpalwak opened the final session with
a rousing speech in which he minced no words in expressing
his frustration over the failure of the central government to
support his province. He specifically singled out the
Ministry of Health for failing to remove JACK, a local NGO
operating one-third of the clinics in the province and whose
performance has consistently been rated as poor by local
officials.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The shura demonstrated that Governor
Khpalwak enjoys broad support from both district leaders and
all of Paktika's tribes. It also showed that local shuras
are prepared to assume a greater role in the security and
development of the province if the central government does
its part by providing financial resources and expertise.
Shuras of this type are a tradition in the Pashtun areas,
and, as this "super shura" demonstrated, can be an effective
means to achieve consensus and link the people to the
district, provincial and national government.
WOOD

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