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Cablegate: United Front: Divided by Reconciliation

VZCZCXRO0643
PP RUEHBW RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1066 1201244
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291244Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3729
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS KABUL 001066

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-101, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MOPS PTER AF
SUBJECT: UNITED FRONT: DIVIDED BY RECONCILIATION

REF: KABUL 878

1. (SBU) The opposition United Front political bloc's April 8
conference on insurgent reconciliation provoked considerable
internal debate. Party chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani reaffirmed his
willingness to negotiate with the Taliban (reftel). Identifying
reconciliation as a national priority, he urged insurgent leaders to
abandon violence and enter into talks with either the government or
United Front.

2. (SBU) In contrast, Abdul Hamid Mubariz, a United Front supporter
and head of the Journalists Union, described efforts to reconcile
the Taliban as futile so long as they remain militarily strong and
have recourse to Pakistani safe havens and support. Reconciliation
now, he implied, would require capitulation to the Taliban.
Political Analyst Ahmad Saidi agreed, criticizing Karzai and ISAF
for not taking the war to Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. Two
female United Front activists, Shukria Haidary and National Assembly
MP Qadria Yazdan Parast, vehemently argued that the Taliban are
beyond redemption because of the crimes they committed against women
while in power.

3. (SBU) Rabbani likely adopted his recent high profile on
reconciliation hoping it would advance his undeclared 2009
presidential race ambitions. His overture to the Taliban might
attract a trickle of Pashtun support. It does usefully serve to
remind Afghans of Karzai's failure to reconcile any insurgent of
note. Ironically, Rabbani's ploy has also provoked fundamental
division among his disparate supporters and highlighted the
fragility of his own political bloc.

WOOD

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