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Cablegate: Deputy Moi Attacks Weak Governance in Farah

VZCZCXRO4533
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0855/01 0971228
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061228Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3527
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000855

SIPDIS

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KWMN AF
SUBJECT: DEPUTY MOI ATTACKS WEAK GOVERNANCE IN FARAH

1. (U) Summary: The First Deputy Minister of Interior, Abdul Khalee
Khaled, visited Farah in late March to look at kidnapping,
corruption, and weak governance. Over several days, Khaled met with
an array of provincial officials and community members, as well as
the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and Police Mentoring Team
(PMT). He emphasized the need to attack corruption in the province,
identifying several individuals from the provincial government for
removal. Khaled also advocated for a provincial Quick Reaction
Force (QRF), a Joint Provincial Coordination Center staffed 24 hours
a day by representatives from the army, police, National Directorate
of Security (NDS), and ISAF, and an NDS-led intelligence fusion cell
to enable better cooperation between NDS and the police. Khaled
urged provincial officials to do a better job connecting with the
populace, and as a next step, he promised to ask President Karzai to
visit Farah with a team of Cabinet members. He expressed negative
views of Iran. End Summary.

2. (U) Khaled visited Farah accompanied by his mentoring team and
the national police chief, Lieutenant General Abed. Although MOI
Deputy Minister for HQ LTG Basir visited briefly in February after
trouble at the police headquarters, Khaled's visit was momentous for
Farah's citizens because he is originally from Farah and because
officials from Kabul rarely visit the province. He did his best to
bring the central government's ear to as many people as possible in
the province, meeting with the Governor, the Provincial Council,
line directors (ministry representatives), the police, the NDS,
educators, district elders, political leaders, the PRT and the U.S.
Army PMT.

3. (SBU) Khaled's visit came at an important time for Farah, as the
people have become more and more discouraged recently. Over the
past eight months, Farah has had four different police chiefs, the
most recent arriving in March. Also in March, two district police
chiefs were killed, in Pusht Rod and Delaram. People have felt
insecure since insurgents attacked four districts last fall, and in
February, about 100 disgruntled merchants signed a petition against
the Governor and Customs Chief, complaining about the "space between
the government and the people" and threatening to close the shops in
the Farah city bazaar. Corruption within the police is rampant, and
kidnappings are at an all-time high, made worse by the fact that
people suspect the police of involvement in the kidnappings.
(Khaled told us Farah had 113 kidnappings on record over the past
year, which he said is equal to all kidnappings in the rest of
Afghanistan.)

CLOSING THE GAP BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE
---------------------------------------------
4. (SBU) Khaled said the goal of the government should not be simply
to kill its enemies, but to weaken them and then gather them close
to the government. However, he recognized that winning people to
the government's side is difficult in Farah, because district
government is weak and unable to provide services. Most ministries
do not have any representatives in the districts to provide
services, and two districts have neither a district manager nor a
chief of police.

5. (U) Despite the lack of effective government in Farah, Khaled
expressed the belief that people have not lost hope in their
government. Early in his visit, he met with approximately 100
elders from four districts who came to complain about the
government's failure to arrest anyone for the murder of a former
police chief. Khaled took a positive view of this, observing that
when people complain to the government, at least they are
recognizing there is a government and holding it responsible.

6. (U) The Deputy Minister made an effort to close the gap between
the government and the people, holding several jirgas with district
elders (including one focused on counter-narcotics and alternative
crops), visiting schools, meeting with leaders of the local
political parties, and recording an address for the local TV
station. He urged people to defy the Taliban by educating future
generations. Although he listened patiently to the people's
complaints, he also asked them to take personal responsibility for
fixing their government, urging them to look for solutions instead
of complaining. He encouraged better communication among the
tribes.

IMPROVING COOPERATION TO IMPROVE SECURITY
-----------------------------------------

KABUL 00000855 002 OF 002


7. (SBU) Decrying the lack of coordination he observed among
different elements of the Afghan national security forces, Khaled
advocated for a Joint Provincial Coordination Center staffed 24
hours a day by representatives from the army, police, NDS, and ISAF,
and an NDS-led intelligence fusion cell to improve cooperation
between NDS and the police. (Although Farah currently has a
Provincial Coordination Center at police headquarters, it has been
ineffective, in part because it is not staffed consistently and
senior officials do not participate.) Khaled also called for the
establishment of a provincial QRF that could be called on in the
event of an attack on a district center or similar emergency. (MOI
Deputy Minister for Security LTG Mangal successfully argued for the
authorization of QRFs in key provinces under the CY1387 (2008-2009)
Tashkil or staffing plan.) Calling for immediate implementation of
the three bodies, Khaled noted that President Karzai had signed a
decree mandating their establishment about six months ago.

ATTACKING CORRUPTION
--------------------
8. (SBU) Khaled followed through on his promise to attack
corruption, identifying several officials as targets for removal,
including the Afghan Border Police commander, the Customs Chief, and
Noor Mohammed, a highway police commander who has achieved bogeyman
status for his suspected involvement in kidnappings and for shaking
travelers down on the road. (Strictly speaking, the Tashkil no
longer authorizes highway police, who were disbanded following
persistent corruption concerns; their continued existence remains an
unresolved policy issue.) Although commerce had increased in the
province, Khaled said Customs had sent the Finance department
approximately half of what it owed over the year, and accounts fell
over 200M Afghanis short. Khaled told the PRT and PMT that he does
not believe Governor Baluch himself is corrupt, but that others in
his administration are. He urged NDS and the police Criminal
Investigations Division to keep track of officials' salaries in
comparison to their spending and said he favored establishing a
national program to reward people with either money or a "hero of
Afghanistan" title if they provide information on corrupt officials.


DEVELOPMENT
-----------
9. (U) Khaled has only returned to Farah twice since leaving 32
years ago, and he commented on the remarkable change in the province
brought on by 12 years of drought. Due to both the drought and
general neglect by the central government, Farah suffers a lack of
development in general, including roads, irrigation systems and
electricity. He lamented the fact that desperate people in Farah
feel forced to sell their daughters into bad marriages, and
commented on the need for a women's safehouse, as well as women's
work programs and sports programs to engage youth. Khaled urged the
PRT to do more, comparing the funding from PRT Farah to PRTs in the
East. (The PRT contributed $6.5M to Farah using Commanders Emergency
Relief Program funds last year. However, PRT Farah is the only
U.S.-led PRT in Regional Command West.)

REGARDING IRAN
--------------
10. (SBU) Khaled expressed a profound distrust for Iran, which
borders Farah province, at one point comparing President Ahmadinejad
to Hitler. Khaled said that Iran is actively destabilizing Farah,
in part because Iran believes Farah should be part of Iran, and
partly because any development in Farah will reduce dependence on
Iran. Consequently, Iran is opposed to the Bahkshabad Dam, which
will bring hydro-electric power to Farah. (Khaled's position in the
MOI derives in some part from international backing, and he is
familiar with U.S. views on Iran; Afghans do not normally make
comparisons involving Hitler.)

NEXT STEPS
----------
11. (SBU) In his final meeting with the PRT, the Governor, and the
Chairman of the Provincial Council, Khaled promised to urge
President Karzai to visit Farah with members of his Cabinet to
lessen the gap between the people and the government. He said he
would encourage NDS and Karzai's office to send delegations to
assist with investigations and help the Governor do his job more
effectively.

DELL

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