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Cablegate: New German Reinforcements Help Prt Kunduz Regain The

VZCZCXRO2443
RR RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0841 0941441
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031441Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3513
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//JF/UNMA//
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS KABUL 000841

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, EUR/RPM
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CENTCOM FOR CG CJTF-82, POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV AF
SUBJECT: NEW GERMAN REINFORCEMENTS HELP PRT KUNDUZ REGAIN THE
INITIATIVE

1. (SBU) Summary: The arrival of both a German airborne infantry
company and additional reconnaissance assets has increased PRT
Kunduz's ability to provide security and conduct reconstruction
activities in Kunduz province. The new company has disrupted
insurgent attacks and discovered weapons caches. As a result, the
PRT is now in a better position to counter the insurgency's spring
activities. The German PRT's military leadership understands that
this pro-active posture requires a greater willingness to accept
casualties in pursuit of success. No decision has yet been reached
on whether the airborne company will be replaced when they depart at
the end of June 2008.

2. (SBU) In 2007 there was a significant increase in insurgent
activity in Kunduz province, both in quantity and quality of
attacks. A May 19 suicide attack that killed three German soldiers
prompted the PRT to cease foot patrols in Kunduz city and tighten
vehicle movement restrictions. The October 5 suicide attack in
Chahar Dara that wounded two German soldiers demonstrated that not
only Kunduz city was dangerous. Nine rocket attacks in the fourth
quarter resulted in "hardening" of temporary housing facilities.
The German force protection elements were occupied responding to
threats, rather than escorting civil-military affairs teams, human
intelligence and information operations elements into the field.

3. (SBU) In response, Berlin dispatched a 200-strong airborne
infantry company to neutralize the threats and regain the
initiative. The paratroopers are responsible for the PRT's
near-perimeter security, freeing up existing force protection units
to accompany patrols into the districts. Additional mixed
reconnaissance assets arrived to improve overall situational
awareness.

4. (SBU) With the Kunduz reinforcements and the summer arrival of
the Quick Reaction Force in Mazar-e Sharif, Germany will brush up
against its maximum authorized contingent size of 3,500 in
Afghanistan. The PRT has already been asked to eliminate 25
positions of the authorized 650.

5. (SBU) Since its arrival at the end of February, the airborne
company has disrupted several insurgent attacks and discovered
weapons caches. Intelligence has highlighted the insurgents'
frustration as to their restricted ability to operate effectively
(the most recent rocket launches have landed several kilometers from
the PRT). Current threat warnings and attacks, including the March
27 improvised explosive device (IED) attack that wounded three
German soldiers, indicate a possible shift in insurgent tactics from
rockets to IEDs.

6. (SBU) While PRT Kunduz spent most of 2007 reacting to insurgents'
efforts to disrupt the security in the province, in 2008 it has
begun to regain the initiative. The new personnel have contributed
to PRT security; however, a new forward-leaning military PRT
commander is also to thank. He has been careful, however, not to
lose sight of the goal of enabling the civilian elements to better
complete their reconstruction and governance tasks.
DELL

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