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Cablegate: Cjcs Mullen's Meeting with Coas General Kayani

VZCZCXRO2815
PP RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #1272/01 0841359
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241359Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6061
INFO RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 9351
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 5148
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 3845
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 001272

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2028
TAGS: MARR MASS PGOV PK PREL
SUBJECT: CJCS MULLEN'S MEETING WITH COAS GENERAL KAYANI

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

1. (C) Summary: CJCS Mullen met with Pakistan's Chief of
the Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani twice March 3-4. At a
private dinner on March 3, they engaged in a discussion of
Pakistan's new political landscape in the aftermath of the
February 18 parliamentary elections. During talks on March
4, Admiral Mullen briefed Kayani on the impact of U.S.
domestic politics on our defense ties and engaged in a broad
exchange on several important bilateral security issues.
Admiral Mullen's visit, the second in less than a month, was
intended to demonstrate the U.S. government's conviction to
deepen our engagement with senior Pakistani officials. End
Summary

2. (C) Admiral Mullen, Lieutenant General Carter Ham, J3
Joint Staff and Major General James R. Helmly visited General
Kayani's house for a private dinner on March 3. Kayani began
by providing a thorough explanation of the political
situation including an analysis of the ongoing negotiations
over the makeup of the incoming government and a description
of the major political players. The General acknowledged the
stated desire of some newly ascendant politicians to impeach
President Musharraf but said he did not think these efforts
would succeed. Discussing the military budget Kayani
acknowledged it had been controlled and ""protected"" by
President Musharraf in the past but that it would now be
exposed to the parliament and he was ready to ""appear in
public to defend it."" After discussing national politics
Kayani transitioned into a discussion of the unique culture
and history of Pakistan's FATA. He explained how the legacy
of the Frontier Crimes Regulation and the corresponding role
of the Pashtun Tribal Code impacted the FATA's system of
governance.

3. (C) On March 4, Admiral Mullen and General Kayani met
again focusing their discussions on bilateral military ties.
They were joined by Lieutenant General Carter Ham and Major
General James R. Helmly for the U.S. side and Lieutenant
General Satthar, Chief of the General Staff; Major General
Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General Military Operations
(DGMO); Major General Nadeem Ijaz, Director General Military
Intelligence; and Brigadier Zubair, Personal Secretary to the
Chief of the Army Staff.

4. (C) Admiral Mullen began by telling Kayani that a U.S.
SIGINT team had completed its initial assessment of
Pakistan's requirements and that they intended to propose
options to assist them in developing a solution. Admiral
Mullen then asked Kayani for his help in approving a third
Restricted Operating Zone for U.S. aircraft over the FATA.
Regarding the FATA, Kayani spoke of a ""long range campaign
plan"" to deal with Baitullah Mehsud although he provided no
particulars. Kayani gave the impression that his strategy
would focus on a defensive campaign for the foreseeable
future. This campaign would include the initiation of
discrete offensive operations in response to militant
provocations so as to protect his forces and blunt tactical
threats.

5. (C) He explained that his intent was not to ""hand the
incoming government a problem"" but rather ""a stable
situation."" Kayani indicated he understood the frailty of the
new government and the need to prevent near-term challenges
to it. The U.S. interlocutors impressed upon Kayani to
advise the incoming government of the need to take
responsibility for combating militancy rather than continuing
to engage in rhetoric. Kayani said he needed the U.S.
Ambassador to encourage those who might become Prime Minister
to ""establish the position and take responsibility.""

6. (C) Kayani said statements in the Western press
regarding the deployment of U.S. trainers to Pakistan cast
the Army in a poor light. He acknowledged the need for
American assistance but cautioned that it could not be
publicized because it implied that the Pakistani Army was not
capable of facing down the militant threat. He emphasized
that he needed Admiral Mullen's help to ""manage perceptions""
and that he would like the U.S. to provide train the trainer
types of assistance so that these responsibilities would
ultimately shift to the Pakistan Army.

7. (C) Admiral Mullen raised the issue of Coalition
Support Funds (CSF). Admiral Mullen told Kayani that the

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U.S. goal was to move forward and that his help was needed in
finding the best way ahead on this program. Kayani replied
that the ""UN model"" for reimbursements served as a useful
baseline for reforming CSF. As to the performance of the
program Kayani explained that the money went to the GOP but
that the Army only received a ""small percentage."" This was
likely due to the fact that there are no formal mechanisms
for ensuring that the reimbursements reach the Army.

8. (C) As to allegations that claims are inflated, Kayani
said the U.S. should recognize that not all of the Army's
costs are claimed and that it would be easier to account for
if we could come to agreement on the types of costs that
would be reimbursed. He also indicated that he was aware
that there are some in the U.S. Congress that preferred an in
kind reimbursement as opposed to a cash transfer. Kayani
reminded Admiral Mullen that the ""delay"" in processing
reimbursement claims is a problem that requires resolution.

9. (C) Kayani said that the U.S. effort to build the
counterinsurgency skills of the FC through the implementation
Security Development Plan ""makes sense"" and that improving
its capabilities would help counter the spread of militant
activity in the FATA. Kayani went on to explain that the
Frontier Corps had certain discreet qualities that gave it
""balance"" but that it also had certain limitations.
Specifically, Kayani said the FC was incapable of ""holding
ground"" or conducting offensive operations. He cautioned
that the US should not expect them to do more than they were
capable of as it is simply ""not in their culture.""
PATTERSON

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