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Cablegate: Prt Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province: Musa Qala Reconstruction

VZCZCXRO2149
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0835 0941201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031201Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3505
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS KABUL 000835

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO DAS CAMP, SCA/A
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-82 POLAD

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: PRT LASHKAR GAH, HELMAND PROVINCE: MUSA QALA RECONSTRUCTION
AND POLITICAL UPDATE

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Musa Qala remains stable but the absence of
Mullah Salam and the District Shura has slowed government
reconstruction efforts and stalled governance development.
Ministries' provincial representatives in Lashkar Gah cannot
coordinate development activities and will not send staff to Musa
Qala until the local government returns. The USAID generator was
installed on March 27, and a local staff has been trained to operate
and maintain the equipment. The Afghan National Police (ANP)
maintain order in the city and continue to work well with the UK
Police Mentoring Teams (PMT). However, freedom of movement outside
the city is limited and security remains the greatest concern of
city residents.

Musa Qala Politics
------------------
2. (SBU) Mullah Salam and the Musa Qala District Shura left the
city three weeks ago for Kabul, and only returned to Helmand on
April 3. Local residents are upset that their local government
spent so much time in the capital and not in Musa Qala working on
local issues. Additionally, the Musa Qala Shura has not resolved
land use issues in the city and this is delaying construction of the
police and government building. Residents expressed support for
ISAF and government operations but are anxious to see reconstruction
and development efforts move forward and create additional jobs in
the city.

Development Update
------------------
3. (SBU) USAID installed and tested the generator on March 27, and
USAID engineers have trained a local resident to operate and
maintain the equipment. USAID will pay the operator's salary and
the PRT will fund the fuel costs for the immediate future. USAID
also trained UK personnel on the application process for Small
Community Grants. USAID expects to start disbursing Small Community
Grants within next 30 days. Furthermore, USAID continues to work
with Provincial Agricultural Authorities on the roll-out of a
500-participant contract farming program in Musa Qala, expected to
begin in six weeks with the start of corn-planting season.

4. (SBU) Raz Mohammad, Deputy Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and
Development, told PRT officers that a contract to build a mosque
with a capacity of 800 people for central Musa Qala is signed. He
said that his ministry has the required funding and that his local
director and three engineers will soon arrive to mark the site and
coordinate an official ground breaking event. Mohammad said he will
try to employ two staff to work with the area leaders and supervise
the implementation of various projects. USAID will support these
staff by coordinating logistics.

Security
--------
5. (SBU) The Afghan Police forces continue to work well with the UK
Police Mentors, and Police Commander Koka has improved policing in
the city. The police arrested two armed Taliban inside the District
Center on March 27, and have prevented several attacks on the local
political leadership. Shopkeepers have complained, however, that
Salam's militia/guards have tried to collect taxes, which they
assert is clearly illegal. Commercial supplies continue to reach
the city, but freedom of movement outside the city is limited;
residents said "real security" extends just 1-2 kms from the city.
UK stabilization officers said they were unable to leave the secure
area of the city on a regular basis, and PRT officers were unable to
visit reconstruction projects, due to the increased risk of suicide
bombers.

6. (SBU) Over the past three months the PRT and local government
have effectively coordinated reconstruction and development efforts.
Unfortunately, the prolonged absence of Salam and the Shura delayed
project implementation and left a leadership void in the city.
Helmand officials will not send staff to work in Musa Qala and
residents have no effective government body. The return of the
local government to Musa Qala is critical to resolve development and
security issues.

DELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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