Search

 

Cablegate: Foreign Minister Spanta On Pakistan, Iran, And

VZCZCXRO0616
OO RUEHBW RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #1064/01 1201228
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 291228Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3727
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001064

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA FOR A/S BOUCHER AND PMOON
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/CDHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR MSHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-82 AND POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL...



151710
2008-04-29
08KABUL1064
Embassy Kabul
CONFIDENTIAL
08KABUL1027
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001064

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA FOR A/S BOUCHER AND PMOON
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/CDHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR MSHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-82 AND POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER ECON IR PK AF
SUBJECT: FOREIGN MINISTER SPANTA ON PAKISTAN, IRAN, AND
PLANS FOR TRIP TO WASHINGTON

REF: KABUL 1027

Classified By: Ambassador William B. Wood for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

Summary
-------

1. (C) Foreign Minister Spanta told the Ambassador on April
22 that he would use his meetings in Islamabad the following
day to underline Afghanistan's support for Pakistan's new
government and explore opportunities for concrete projects
(dealing especially with trade and economic cooperation) to
strengthen cross-border ties. Spanta nevertheless expressed
concern that the government must be seen as transitional and
that Nawaz Sharif is likely to end up in power. Spanta said
he is advocating close Afghan-Pak cooperation on
counter-terrorism as well as reconciliation efforts. He
expressed concern over Iranian meddling, including efforts to
convoke Ambassador from surrounding countries to discuss U.S.
long-term plans in Afghanistan. Spanta underlined his
personal conviction that Iran is at least as dangerous as
Pakistan, but defended his recent remarks downplaying
evidence of Iranian support for the Taliban as reflecting the
Afghan government's need to manage its western neighbor and
avoid a second front. Spanta reiterated his intention to
visit Washington as soon as possible.

Pakistan: Support for Government; Worries about the Future
--------------------------------------------- -------------

2. (C) Spanta told the Ambassador his trip to Islamabad was
meant to underline Afghan support for and intention to
cooperate with the new government. Spanta acknowledged
Pakistan had protested over Defense Minister Wardak's recent
visit to Kashmir (which Wardak insisted was private), but he
did not expect that issue to have a negative impact on his
meetings in Islamabad. He planned to meet with Musharraf, PM
Gilani, ForMin Qureshi, Lower House Speaker Fahmida Mirza,
and leaders from the ANP and PPP, and if possible Pakistani
Muslim League Leader Nawaz Sharif (trip readout septel).
Spanta would be looking for opportunities to identify
concrete projects to further cross-border cooperation,
particularly in the area of economic cooperation, trade, and
transit arrangements. Afghanistan will be doing everything
possible to help the new government succeed, as having a
civilian government is critical. Spanta nevertheless
expressed concern that the current arrangement can only be
seen as transitional, given that the PPP did not put forth
its strongest person. In Spanta's view, this had been a
great mistake as it might lead to Sharif (who has strong
connections to Islamic groups) ending up in power. Spanta
said he would be able to discuss his concerns frankly with
the ANP, but would need to be very diplomatic in
conversations with the PPP.

3. (C) Spanta said that, while President Karzai might not
take his advice, he is advocating close Afghan-Pakistan
cooperation on counter-insurgency efforts and on
reconciliation. He underlined the danger of any separate
accommodation with al Qaeda, arguing that the consequence of
separate action by Pakistan would be movement of the Taliban
across the border to Afghanistan. This would be bad for
Afghanistan, but also dangerous for Pakistan in that it would
allow the terrorists and extremists to turn Afghanistan into
a base against Pakistan. He said he wanted to deepen the
dialogue on this an other issues and would be inviting
Qureshi to Kabul for discussions within three months. He
added that Kabul, Islamabad and Ankara are working on a date
for the next meeting in the Istanbul-round of discussions at
the presidential level.

4. (C) The Ambassador said the U.S. supports deepened
Afghan-Pakistan dialogue at all levels. He agreed that the
transitional arrangement in Pakistan is less than ideal and
understood concerns about Sharif, but added that there are
signs that the ISI is pressuring those in the tribal areas to
distance themselves from the Arabs. The best solution would
be a combined counter-terrorism operation against al Qaeda,
the Pakistan Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban. Closure of
refuges used by terrorists in Pakistan should be a priority.

KABUL 00001064 002 OF 002


Some terrorists would come across the border, but here they
can be defeated.

Iran: Its Meddling and its Dialogue with Afghan Neighbors
--------------------------------------------- ------------

5. (C) Spanta commented on the new Iranian Ambassador's
aggressive efforts to coordinate and lead the Iranian
campaign to influence events in Afghanistan. He described
Ambassador Fada Hossein Maleki as close to the National Front
as well as to Karzai's Chief of Staff Daudzai (who served as
Afghan Ambassador to Iran until 2007). Spanta claimed Maleki
was meeting regularly with President Karzai, but was more
concerned that he had organized meetings with his Russian,
Chinese, Uzbek, Kazak, Tajik, Indian and Pakistani
counterparts to discuss Afghanistan. According to reports
Spanta had heard, Maleki had used the first meeting to
articulate his view of long-term U.S. plans in Afghanistan.
Spanta understood the Indian Ambassador had agreed to host
the next meeting of the group. He appealed to the Ambassador
to consider convoking a larger group to include the current
participants plus the U.S. and Afghanistan -- an expansion
of the six-plus-two concept.

6. (C) The Ambassador noted that the U.S. would have
difficulties participating in the group with Iran and noted
that there are established mechanisms for broad-based
dialogue that includes Iran -- such as the JCMB co-chaired by
the Afghan government and UNAMA. He told Spanta he would
share Spanta's idea for a broad regionally based dialogue
with Washington for consideration before the ForMin's
proposed visit to Washington later in the Spring.

How to Manage Iran
------------------

7. (C) The Ambassador then raised Spanta's recent statements
downplaying Iranian actions (including that there is no
evidence Iran is assisting the Taliban). He told Spanta that
this statement had caught Washington's attention as, in fact,
we all know that Iran is providing support to the Taliban.
The Ambassador underlined that the U.S. appreciates the
problems Afghanistan has with Iran and the need for good
relations; the challenge is finding a way to be a good
neighbor without exonerating them.

8. (C) Spanta defended his statements, saying they reflected
the position of the Afghan government and that he had been
doing his duty. While there is indeed deep concern over
Iranian influence, it is simply not possible for Afghanistan
to open a second front with Iran, given the need to deal with
Pakistan. Spanta observed that while he personally believes
that Iran is more dangerous than Pakistan (I cannot accept
the role of mullahs, especially the Iranian mullahs), he
recognizes that he is obligated to work to reduce tensions
with Iran. The Ambassador reiterated that being a good
neighbor does not require ignoring or denying actions that
are unacceptable.

Trip to Washington
------------------

9. (C) The ForMin reiterated his desire to travel to
Washington as soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a
possible visit by President Karzai and the Paris Conference.
He also hoped to sign a joint statement affirming U.S. and
Afghan commitment to the Strategic Partnership (text of
agreed statement will be forwarded to SCA/A) while he was in
Washington. He said he recognized the statement would be
largely symbolic, but asserted that it would have positive
resonance with the Afghan public. Spanta was working through
the Afghan Embassy in Washington and aiming for a visit early
in May. The Ambassador promised to relay the request.
WOOD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: