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Cablegate: Afghan Police: Fdd Update From Zabul Province

VZCZCXRO8745
PP RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1030/01 1171112
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261112Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3701
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KABUL 001030

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO A/DAS CAMP, SCA/A, S/CRS, S/CT, EUR/RPM,
INL/CIVPOL
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG,
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS MARR AF
SUBJECT: AFGHAN POLICE: FDD UPDATE FROM ZABUL PROVINCE

REF: A. 07 KABUL 3848
B. 07 KABUL 3054

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) The Focused District Development (FDD) program to
reform Afghan police at the local level has yielded positive
results in the southern province of Zabul. Elite, national
units provided an effective backstop as local units were
rotated out for training. The highway was cleared of over 20
excess checkpoints, considerably easing travel along that
segment of the Ring Road. Local police returned from the
training centers with renewed commitment to serve their
communities, and many corrupt elements have been weeded out.
End summary.

Introduction
------------

2. (SBU) The Focused District Development (FDD) program,
initiated by the Combined Security Transition Command -
Afghanistan (CSTC-A), aims to reform police across
Afghanistan at the district level (reftels). Beginning in
late December 2007, FDD targeted seven districts across the
country, rotating Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) out for eight
weeks of retraining and backstopping them with Afghan
National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) units. Three of the
seven districts in this first cycle were in the southern
province of Zabul. During a recent visit to the province,
Emboffs spoke with police officials, Police Mentoring Team
(PMT) personnel and mentors, and observed interactions
between a police commander and local villagers, in order to
assess the impact of FDD in the area.

3. (SBU) Zabul Province is located in Afghanistan,s volatile
southern regional command (RC-S) and shares a 40-mile border
with Pakistan. The Ring Road, the country,s most critical
roadway, runs through all three targeted districts,
connecting the provinces of Kandahar and Ghazni. The
provincial population of 370,000 is ethnically Pashtun,
estimated to be 85 percent illiterate, and extremely poor,
with 58 percent of residents under age 18. Residents are
predominantly subsistence farmers who tend sheep and grow
almonds, apricots, pomegranates, grapes and wheat. Poppy
production is minimal, and both the provincial and district
governors are supportive of eradication efforts. While
Zabul,s security is relatively better than Kandahar or
Helmand, Taliban insurgents and criminal elements continue to
operate. On April 8, Taliban attacked a road survey team and
their Afghan security guards in Dab Pass, about 30 miles east
of the provincial capital of Qalat and in the area of the
border between Qalat District and Shinkay District, killing
18 guards and wounding seven; that attack did not occur in an
FDD-targeted district.

Initial Results: Positive
--------------------------

4. (SBU) FDD training of police from target districts in
Zabul was broadly successful. GIRoA officials held shuras
(councils) with local elders to explain program goals and
build support for FDD. About 150 Afghan National Civil Order
Police (ANCOP) troops assumed responsibility for local
security as AUP units from two of the districts (Tarnak wa
Jaldak and Qalat) went to the INL-run Regional Training
Center (RTC) at Kandahar, and police from a third district
(Shah Joy, the province's most populous and prosperous
district) went to RTC Jalalabad. On arrival, AUP turned in
their weapons for replacement, repair or return at the end of
the eight-week course. CSTC-A also provided units with new
vehicles suitable to the local terrain, and a contract to
provide repairs as necessary is in place. MOI-certified
Afghan trainers instructed the AUP. Police pay has also gone
smoothly since FDD came to Zabul. Many police are now paid

KABUL 00001030 002 OF 004


through personal bank accounts, and the PMT confirmed that
police were paid in full and on time last month.

5. (SBU) Initial reports from Zabul and other FDD-targeted
areas found local residents impressed with ANCOP units and
unhappy at having to give them up. ANCOP units are
nationally recruited, more extensively trained and more
committed to their jobs than most locally-recruited AUP,
giving the returning trainees a hard act to follow. Yet
according to the PMT commander in Qalat, the returned AUP,
newly equipped and decked out in new uniforms, cut an
impressive figure next to the departing ANCOP during the
transfer-of-authority ceremony in late February. Since then,
AUP have had a stronger voice at weekly provincial security
council meetings; local Afghan National Army (ANA) units,
accustomed to viewing police as a band of yahoos, have begun
to view them almost as rivals. Subsequent reports have also
found elders pleased to have their Pashto-speaking AUP units
back, as many of the Dari-speaking ANCOP units had difficulty
communicating with the locals. The PMT commander described
local National Directorate of Security personnel as still
loath to share intelligence in a timely way, although he
hopes to change that dynamic, now that newly-trained police
are in place. Also according to the PMT commander, the
provincial Chief of Police has supported gains achieved,
invoking his chain of command when the governor has sought
allegedly to exceed his authorities in directing police
operations.

6. (SBU) One area of particular success in Zabul Province was
collaboration between the CSTC-A Police Mentoring Team and
ANCOP to eliminate over 20 "checkpoints" that pre-FDD police
and criminal elements had used to extract illegal taxes and
otherwise shake down Ring Road travelers. Some 300 so-called
Afghan Highway Police were evicted from one checkpoint, now
repaired and soon to be returned to AUP control. As a result
of the shutdown of excess checkpoints, travel from one end of
the province to the other, which used to take eight hours,
now takes two.

7. (SBU) The AUP commander at one of the remaining Ring Road
checkpoints is First Lieutenant Abdullah Razaq. Razaq had
recently come to Zabul Province from Bagrami, a rural
district in Kabul Province. He told Emboffs that he had
received FDD training at one of the RTCs, as had the 41
troops he was responsible for; however, only 24 of that
number remained on duty. He described those who had left as
insubordinate and unwilling to trade AFG 30,000-40,000/month
(USD 600-800) in shakedown income for the AFG 5,000/month
(USD 100) that is a patrolman,s standard pay. &When they
were not allowed to rob the people,8 he continued, &they
just quit.8 He said that as an officer from Kabul, the
principal challenges he faced were language (Razaq speaks
Dari but not Pashto) and local tribal allegiances. Since a
large recent battle with Taliban elements, according to
Razaq, there were two or three attacks a day on patrol teams
(rather than on the checkpoint itself, located between the
city of Qalat and the Zabul-Kandahar border). According to
DynCorp mentors who have traveled more extensively through
Zabul Province, the checkpoints have also been the target of
many attacks by the Taliban.

Signs of Popular Support
------------------------

8. (SBU) In the village of Sadu, local elders greeted the
visiting AUP zone commander Abdul Raziq Salangi respectfully.
Captain Salangi told the villagers about police retraining
and of his desire to ensure their security. He pledged that
the police would serve the common good and called upon the
people of Sadu to resist Taliban overtures and to report them
to him personally, distributing cards with his name and
telephone number. The villagers acknowledged a change in the
attitude of police, saying they were more polite toward
village residents since returning from the RTC and more

KABUL 00001030 003 OF 004


respectful of the sanctity of village homes. Above all, they
wanted to be left in peace to finish building a reservoir and
expand a network of irrigation ditches. They also told of
previous violations of their homes and of unfounded
detentions by police. From the village lane flanked by high
mud walls, the elders invited the commander and Emboffs to
continue the meeting inside their home in a gesture of
hospitality. The residents of a second village, Bakorzai,
were more guarded in their welcome. There, the captain
delivered his standard talk, also cautioning that the
insurgents who arrived from Pakistan were ¬ the friends
of Afghanistan8 and did not deserve the support of the
people. The principal elder maintained a skeptical tone,
however, complaining of past police behavior, including the
arrests of ten village men and searches that violated
women,s quarters.

Still to Come, and Lessons Learned
----------------------------------

9. (SBU) Initial results in these three districts have been
impressive and bode well for future cycles of FDD. Still,
there is much work to be done. Afghan and Coalition forces
in Zabul are now focusing on how to prevent World Food
Program drops from being misappropriated. The UN needs to
take advantage of FDD gains and establish a permanent
presence in Qalat, the provincial capital. The poor
condition of roads linking outlying districts and the
provincial center continues to hamper aid delivery. On the
positive side, USAID has helped the national bank (Da
Afghanistan Bank) to establish a branch in Qalat, and has
also established a provincial radio station to enable better
communication between local government and largely illiterate
local residents. Several Emboff interlocutors complained
about police arrests going nowhere, as cases were never
brought to trial; INL's Justice Sector Support Program is
currently conducting a pilot training program for prosecutors
from FDD-targeted districts and in the coming months will
extend such training to other districts including Zabul. A
USAID program to improve court administration has already
targeted justice officials from the province. A local
version of 911 (&1198) now in the works should make it
easier for local residents to call on police for help.

10. (SBU) As successive cycles have begun, the Ministry of
Interior (MOI) has proven increasingly supportive of FDD;
however, its capacity to direct even isolated segments of
overall operations remains weak. A key challenge that is
currently being addressed is a 16,000 shortfall of
non-commissioned officers (NCOs); there are currently under
9,000 NCOs, and a new class of 1,716 NCO graduates is
expected in June. In Cycle 1, the MOI managed to send NCOs
for Zabul to the RTCs only in the seventh week of the
eight-week program. Many of these collected their personal
equipment and deserted. In the long run, the MOI will also
need to consider how to secure FDD gains by regular oversight
and support to the district level after the PMTs complete
their mission and depart.

11. (SBU) On the training side, rank-conscious Afghan
officers who have not received basic training have resisted
any suggestion that they join the rank and file in the
classroom; instead, INL is considering offering an
alternative version of the basic course for those officers
who lack it, and continuing to foster unit cohesion through
other opportunities. The tempo of FDD and limits on RTC
capacity make it difficult to integrate training in functions
such as logistics, advanced first aid and driver education in
the schedule of instruction, and for now these subjects are
offered to targeted groups of trainees on an &opportunity8
basis after hours. Mentors at RTC Kandahar have concluded
that putting whole units through training together resonates
extremely well with troops from tribal areas; even when they
belong to various tribes, the shared training experience
effectively encourages unit cohesion.

KABUL 00001030 004 OF 004

12. (SBU) Also important to the overall success of FDD will
be maintaining a complementary fit between civilian and
military roles. While civilian mentors emphasize the
police,s law-enforcement functions, in Afghanistan,s
security environment military personnel provide police with
valuable survival training. Among FDD-targeted districts in
Cycles 1 through 3, the same security conditions also limit
the ability of civilian mentors to sustain their presence
among retrained police without a military escort, with the
possible exception of Chahar Dara in Konduz Province. Yet it
is vital to maintain the civilian character of the overall
police mentoring program in order to maintain the distinction
between police and the army. Toward that end, U.S. civilian
and military colleagues are working together to ensure
appropriate civilian participation in future mentoring
efforts under FDD. One major problem is that as FDD expands
to more target districts, PMT resources will be stretched
ever more thinly.
WOOD

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