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Cablegate: Regional Command - South Meeting, April 28, Ottawa

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FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7799
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0403
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RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0894
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 OTTAWA 000626

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS MARR NATO AF CA
SUBJECT: REGIONAL COMMAND - SOUTH MEETING, APRIL 28, OTTAWA

REF: A. RC-S PLAN - VERSION FROM 4/17/08
B. BRITISH DRAFT PAPER - INTEGRATING CN AND COIN
C. DFID/WORLD BANK PAPER OF 12/17/07 - ECONOMIC
INCENTIVES AND DEVELOPMENT TO REDUCE
OPIUM PRODUCTION
D. U.S.-UK MYTHS AND FACTS PRESS RELEASE OF MARCH 11
E. 2008


1. (U) Summary: On April 28 in Ottawa, Canada's Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) hosted a
DAS-level officials' meeting for countries contributing to
NATO-ISAF Regional Command - South (RC-S). NATO and United
Nations Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO) representatives also
attended. SCA DAS Patrick Moon headed the United States
delegation (lists in para 19). The agenda included breakout
sessions on the RC-S Plan, counternarcotics, national Afghan
issues (reconciliation and elections planning),
communications, the rule of law, and border security.

2. (U) RC-S Allies provided detailed input on the draft RC-S
Plan document, and the United States will prepare a new draft
for final approval at the Ministerial level by Canada, US,
UK, the Netherlands, Australia, and Denmark. The goal remains
to produce a counterinsurgency-oriented plan that addresses
issues specific to RC-S and that is consistent with broader
NATO efforts.

3. (U) INL will lead a "virtual community" on Rule of Law and
Canada will lead a similar group on the police. The
Netherlands offered to host the next RC-South meeting; dates
are still to be determined. End Summary.

Plenary: Reflection on Bucharest
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade (DFAIT) meeting organizer and Director General for
Afghanistan Kerry Buck called on delegates to build on the
success of previous RC-S officials' meetings and the NATO
Leaders Summit in Bucharest. She said that Prime Minister
Harper was happy with the outcomes of Bucharest, the Canadian
public had responded well, and Canada's critical Summit
objectives were met -- helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles,
and a combat capable partner in Kandahar. The NATO Vision
Statement and Comprehensive Strategic Political-Military Plan
(CSPMP) for Afghanistan offered a useful strategic way
forward, she observed. The job of RC-S officials in Ottawa,
Buck said, was to build upon this direction in practical ways
with particular focus on the RC-S Plan, justice, rule of law,
and reconciliation.

RC-S Plan Working Group and Head of Delegation Lunch
--------------------------------------------- -------

5. (SBU) RC-S Plan: SCA DAS Patrick Moon briefed about the
ongoing discussion with RC-S allies and partners about the
draft RC-S Plan, and U.S. thinking on the matter (ref A).
DAS Moon argued that, to be worthwhile, the Plan should:
-- be based on successes in RC-E, applying those to RC-S;
-- include counterinsurgency (COIN) in substance and word;
-- be an action plan; and,
-- not be a formal NATO paper, but remain consistent with
NATO strategies and plans.

6. (SBU) Shifting from their previous opposition to any
explicit COIN reference, the Dutch and others agreed to
include both the term and the concept. They also sought a
reference to "comprehensive approach," as another concept
that brings together civilian and military elements. Allies
Qthat brings together civilian and military elements. Allies
called for a particular focus on the civilian aspects of
counterinsurgency, and suggested that problems specific to
RC-S -- poor governance, lack of reconciliation, and the need
to strengthen UNAMA and NGOs -- ought to figure prominently
in the Plan. Canada questioned why RC-S Allies and partners
should draft a non-NATO paper of this type, noting that RC-S
commanders report up the NATO chain of command and that
conflicting guidance would be counterproductive.

7. (SBU) Acknowledging the Dutch and Canadian concerns, DAS
Moon and reiterated the need to ensure that, if the parties
decided to complete it, the Plan should be consistent with
the NATO Vision Statement, CSPMP, and ISAF and RC-S

OTTAWA 00000626 002 OF 007


Operations Plan (OPLAN). As such, the Plan could serve as a
"common national agreement" guiding military and civilian
efforts. Australia reminded the group that RC-S defense
ministers had tasked the Plan, and stated that Australia
would be willing to support a more high-level document that
included specific references to COIN. Picking up from the
Australians, the UK said the Plan should be consistent with
the RC-S OPLAN, focus on COIN and counternarcotics (CN), and
be viewed as both national guidance and a tool for monitoring
progress within RC-S.

8. (U) DAS Moon relayed the intent to provide a revised draft
reflecting previously received input on April 23 and the
meeting discussions within 10-14 days.

Counternarcotics Working Group
------------------------------

9. (SBU) Counternarcotics: The UK chair opened by referring
to the UK draft paper entitled "Integrating CN and COIN" and
emphasized the "intertwined" nature of the two in Afghanistan
(ref B). The insurgency provided a favorable environment for
the opposition militant forces (OMF) to persist, she said, by
fueling insurgents, crime, corruption, and disillusionment
with the government. INL/AP Director Thomas Williams
stressed the need to integrate CN into COIN at all levels by
all military and civilian players. He pointed to the need
for ISAF to support the efforts of the Poppy Eradication
Force, and highlighted U.S. concerns about offering amnesty
to members of drug trafficking organizations. The Dutch
agreed that amnesty was problematic, but noted that The Hague
worried that the Good Performers Fund risked creating
"perverse incentives." The Australians, meanwhile, expressed
agreement with the U.S. call to back Afghan CN efforts, and
urged RC-S partners to empower personnel down-range to make
calls regarding the right mix of incentives and deterrents.

10. (SBU) The second part of the CN session focused on a
DFID-World Bank paper entitled "Economic Incentives and
Development Initiatives to Reduce Opium Production" (ref C).
INL's Williams took issue with elements of the report, noting
that it was too limited in scope and perpetuated unhelpful
myths about why most Afghan farmers grew poppy. Furthermore,
the report offered no useful prescriptions for pursuing
development in insecure areas, particularly the South, where
75 percent of Afghanistan's poppy is grown. After discussing
the work, participants highlighted the fact that the RC-S
OPLAN CN Annex established the COIN-CN nexus articulated in
the report. To be successful, they agreed, the execution of
CN strategy would require a differentiated approach based on
the security environment, force protection, political buy-in,
proper sequencing, and the participation of broad-based CN
advisory task forces.

National Afghan Issues - RC-S Perspectives Working Group
--------------------------------------------- ------------

11. (SBU) Elections: The NATO representative observed that
the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission (AIEC) had called
for international support. It had done so despite the fact
that Afghan authorities had not yet begun to consider the
logistical and security requirements of the 2009 and 2010
elections. RC-S members agreed that their governments should
Qelections. RC-S members agreed that their governments should
discreetly press Afghan authorities to energize their
registration and election planning processes. The Dutch
chair expressed concern about the possible need for more ISAF
troops to ensure security during the elections; "where
would they come from?" he asked.

12. (SBU) Reconciliation: Participants focused on the
Program Takhim-E-Sol (PTS). Most participants agreed that
PTS was "good on paper" but not performing well, and yielded
only "small fish" so far. All nonetheless conceded that PTS
should be supported and strengthened as the main vehicle for
reconciliation, and that reconciliation must be an Afghan-led
process. DAS Moon noted that PTS would benefit from better
management, and that President Karzai could help to
reinvigorate it. Participants also discussed the Independent
Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG) Afghanistan Social
Outreach Program (ASOP). It was noted that ASOP is related
to (but not a substitute for) reconciliation in that ASOP
politically empowers and provides economic support to local
communities, in exchange for an agreement for responsible

OTTAWA 00000626 003 OF 007


action (much as reconciliation provides protections to
individuals who lay down their arms and acknowledge the
government's authority). The Working Group agreed that,
despite its potential faults, the ASOP also merits continued
support. DAS Moon observed that providing transitional
justice would be an even tougher problem, and it will take
some time for the Afghans to figure out how to address it.
We should not pressure them, he said, and the UN delegate
agreed.

Communications Working Group
----------------------------

13. (SBU) Communications: The UK chair began with his
assessment that strategic communications ought to strike a
balance between home and Afghan audiences, and that the
Interim Government Media Center in Kabul should open by June
2008. The British asked, and those present agreed, whether
they should invite an Afghan embassy official to the regular
meetings of the informal RC-S Communications Working Group in
London. The UK distributed draft talking points on
reconciliation, and proposed drafting a counternarcotics
communications plan based on the U.S.-UK myths and facts
press release (ref D). The Danes conveyed the importance of
getting messages to partners when major news events of
civilian casualties are imminent, in order to help mitigate
negative domestic reactions. The U.S. representative shared
a draft communication plan for the run-up to the Paris
conference in June, which should be discussed at the next
regular meeting of the Communications Working Group in
London. Finally, the NATO International Staff and the Danish
representatives described the recent, somewhat premature,
launch of the "NATO TV" site. While up and running, NATO TV
still has to work out issues of editorial control.

Rule of Law Working Group
-------------------------

14. (SBU) Rule of Law: Members of the Working Group agreed
that the Focused District Development (FDD) program was off
to a good start, and acknowledged the need to coordinate
governance and reconstruction efforts with FDD's police
training component. All agreed that the EUPOL mission has
gotten off to a weak start, but the group was generally
supportive of trying to turn EUPOL into a success. The Dutch
delegate expressed concern about a projected reduction in the
number of authorized Afghan National Police (ANP) in Uruzgan.
(Note: This draw-down is part of a revised "tashkil,"
approved by the Ministry of Interior to rebalance the ANP,
based on population and threat, and to eliminate the ANAP.)
All delegates agreed that the Law and Order Trust Fund
(LOTFA) deserved continued support. Several delegates noted
concern about security for prosecutors and judges. There was
general recognition that justice efforts must be Afghan-led.
At the closing plenary, INL/AP's Williams agreed to lead an
email discussion "virtual community" on Rule of Law and
Canadian Director General Buck agreed to lead a similar group
on the police.

Border Security Working Group
-----------------------------

15. (SBU) Border Security: As chair for the group, DAS Moon
opened with an explanation of U.S. efforts and concerns
regarding the Pakistan and Iranian borders. The Canadians
briefed their Dubai Border Workshop for Afghanistan and
Qbriefed their Dubai Border Workshop for Afghanistan and
Pakistan security, defense, and foreign affairs officials,
and asked that donors consider funding elements of the action
plan that the two countries are set to sign in June. There
was consensus that refugees were not yet a significant issue
in RC-S because the closure of the long-established camps on
the Pakistan side of the border in Baluchistan had not yet
been scheduled.

16. (SBU) The discussion that ensued focused almost entirely
on Afghanistan's eastern border and led to general agreement
that the border presented huge challenges that must be
addressed in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that border
police capacity and border security are critically important.
The one, sustained discordant note came from the British
delegate, who insisted that resources would be better spent
on domestic police training than on beefing up Afghanistan's
border police. The current political situation in Pakistan

OTTAWA 00000626 004 OF 007


further complicated engagement on the border and on advancing
the cross-border Peace Jirga process with Islamabad. That
said, allies agreed upon the need to continue to press border
issues, OMF sanctuaries, and our desire to engage Pakistani
officials along the border and in Islamabad at all levels.

Comment
-------

17. (SBU) The RC-S group continues to meet informally at
various levels from working level to ministers, and serves as
a caucus-like body of Allies and partners dealing with a
similar set of challenges in the Regional Command - South
area of operations. The Dutch, who will provide the next
RC-S commander, offered to host the next RC-S meeting, dates
TBD. The United States will continue to steer these RC-S
forums toward addressing operational issues while keeping the
Allies and partners in sync with the broader NATO efforts.
End comment.

18. (U) DAS Moon has cleared this cable.

19. (U) ATTENDEE LIST

AUSTRALIA

Mr. Paul Robilliard (HoD)
Assistant Secretary
Afghanistan and Iraq Branch
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Mr. Andrew Chandler
Assistant Secretary
Central Asia Middle East and Africa Branch
Department of Defence

Ms. Sheridan Kearnan
Director
Afghanistan Section
Department of Defence

Mr. Alan March
Senior Adviser
Humanitarian and Reconstruction
Australian Agency for International Development

Mr. Dave Vosen
Director
Iraq Middle East Afghanistan and Pakistan Section,
Australian Agency for International Aid

Brigadier General Andrew Smith
Director-General Plans,
Joint Operations Command
Department of Defence

Lieutenant Colonel Byron Cocksedge
Staff Officer Grade 1
Military Strategic Commitments
Department of Defence

Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Anderson
Defence Adviser
Australian High Commission, Ottawa

Mr. Ben Burdon
Counsellor
Australian Embassy, Washington

CANADA

Ms Kerry Buck (HoD)
Director General
Afghanistan Task Force
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

BGen Peter Atkinson
Director General - Operations
Strategic Joint Staff
Department of National Defence

Mr. Don Sinclair
Director General

OTTAWA 00000626 005 OF 007


International Security Bureau
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Mr. Richard Arbeiter
Director, Policy and Advocacy Division
Afghanistan Task Force
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Mr. Michael Elliott
Senior Policy Analyst
Afghanistan Task Force
Privy Council Office

Mr. Geoffrey Dean
Director Strategic Communications
Afghanistan Task Force
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Mr. Kevin Rex
Director Peace and Security Policy
Afghanistan Task Force
Canadian International Development Agency

Ms. Mieke Bos
Deputy Director
Afghanistan Task Force
Department of National Defence

Ms. Marina Laker
Director Peace Support Operations
Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Ms. Rebecca Netley
First Secretary, Political
Embassy of Canada, Washington

Mr. Christopher Gibbins
Deputy Director, Policy and Advocacy Division
Afghanistan Task Force
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

DENMARK

Amb. Carsten Nilaus Pederson (HOD)
Under Secretary for Bilateral Co-operation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Peter Alexa
Head of Department
Ministry of Defence

ESTONIA

Mr. Margus Kolga (HoD)
Director General
Political Department.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Christian-Marc Liflnder
Director of the Policy Planning Department
Ministry of Defence

Mr. Taimar Peterkop
Counsellor
Embassy of Estonia, Washington

Mr. Rasmus Lumi
Charg d'Affaires
Embassy of Estonia, Ottawa

NATO

Mr. Gordon Brett (HoD)
Acting Head, Operations Section
Operations Division
NATO HQ

Mrs. Delphine Mauss
Officer, Crisis Management Policy Section
Operations Division
NATO HQ


OTTAWA 00000626 006 OF 007


Mr. Erik Povel
Afghanistan Media Operations Center (MOC)
Public Diplomacy Division
NATO HQ

NETHERLANDS

H.E. Mr. Karel de Beer
Ambassador to Canada

Mr. Robert de Groot (HoD)
Director Security Policy Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Koen Davidse
Director Peacebuilding and Fragility Unit
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Hidde Baars
Policy officer
South Asia Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Matthijs Veenendaal
Senior policy Advisor
Department for General Policy Affairs
Ministry of Defence

Ms. Cynthia de Ligt
Policy officer
Security Policy Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ROMANIA

Mr. Daniel Ene (HoD)
Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission,
Embassy of Romania, Ottawa

UNITED KINGDOM

Mr. Matthew Lodge (HoD)
Head of Afghanistan Group
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Mrs. Rachel Brass
Team Leader (Strategic Communications)
Afghanistan Group
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Mr. Peter O'Rourke
Team Leader (Pol/Mil)
Afghanistan Group
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Ms. Katharine Hammond
Team Leader (Rule of Law)
Afghan Drugs Interdepartmental Unit
UK High Commission

BGen. Gordon Messenger
Director Joint Commitments
Ministry of Defence

Col. Gerhard Wheeler
DTIO
Ministry of Defence

Ms. Emily Travis
Team Leader
Afghanistan Team
Department for International Development

Ms. Jessica Irvine,
Head of ADIDU
Afghan Drugs Interdepartmental Unit

UNITED NATIONS

Ms. Radha Day (HoD)
UNAMA desk
OO - AMED
Department of Peace Keeping Operations

OTTAWA 00000626 007 OF 007


United Nations Headquarters, New York

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Mr. Patrick Moon (HoD)
Afghanistan Coordinator
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Department of State

Mr. Robert Newberry
Principal Director
Europe and NATO Policy
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Mr. Thomas Williams
Office Director
Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Office for
Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs
Department of State

Ms. Kathleen McInnis
Director
NATO ISAF Operations
Europe and NATO Policy
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Mr. Ian Rainey
Afghanistan Country Director
Asian and Pacific Security Affairs
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Captain James Hirst
NATO Division Chief
Joint Staff, J5
Department of Defense

Mr. Peter Shea
NATO-Afghanistan
Action Officer
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Regional Security
and Arms Transfers
Department of State

Ms. Nisha Singh
Foreign Affairs Officer
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Office for
Afghanistan
Department of State

Mr. Brett Mattei
First Secretary for Political Affairs
United Sates Embassy, Ottawa


Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
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