Cablegate: Decentralization Unites the United Front

DE RUEHBUL #1102/01 1251623
O 041623Z MAY 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Mustafa Zahir, grandson of deceased King Zahir Shah
and aspiring United Front presidential candidate, recently
shared with us a stump speech he drafted, which proposes
replacing the current highly centralized state, organized
around a strong presidency, with a decentralized governmental
structure that vests ultimate authority in a greatly
empowered parliament (See par 4 below for text.). Though
Zahir's speech outlines a staged, protracted transition to
"parliamentary democracy" and attempts to cloak its radical
purpose with several references to "amendments" to the
constitution, he is advocating nothing less than abandonment
of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan.

2. (SBU) United Front co-founder Mohammad Yunus Qanuni's
chief-of-staff, Haji Ibrahim, strongly supports Zahir's
proposal. He praised it both for its goal of a decentralized
government and for the perceived practicality of the
prescribed transition from the current state structure.
National Assembly MP and United Front supporter Shakar Kargar
(Uzbek, Faryab) hedged. Though he strongly advocates
decentralization of the state, he believes the international
community would be reluctant to underwrite a new
constitutional drafting exercise.

3. (SBU) The United Front is an ethnically disparate
political bloc that may break apart long before the 2009
elections. It is searching for a compelling message around
which its feud-prone leadership board can unite. Though
Mustafa Zahir seems unlikely, at this stage, to become the
bloc's presidential candidate, his rather lengthy
articulation of a path to a decentralized governmental
structure may begin to rally those Afghans who want to
forestall forever a return to Pashtun hegemony.

4. (SBU) Begin Text of Mustafa Zahir's draft speech, which
was received in English:

"Peace Initiative of Mostapha Zaher for Comprehensive
Political Settlement of Afghan Conflict"

In the name of God, the merciful, the beneficent...

My Beloved Compatriot, Sisters and Brothers,

As we all know, about six years elapse since the Bonn
Agreement, which was concluded by the representatives of
different Afghan groups in Germany. The provisions of this
Agreement raised great hopes and expectations amongst the
Afghan people and the international community to end the war
in Afghanistan, and to rebuild our country long ravaged by
war and devastation. However, a sincere review of the
developments since then clearly reveal that not only have
those hopes and expectations remained immaterialized, but the
political, the security, the social and the economic
situations are further deteriorating throughout the country.
Such a dangerous trend of developments, regrettably, show
that violence and insurgency are on the rise; the confidence
of the people at home and abroad for a peaceful tomorrow is
falling apart; and the resolve of the international community
to help us out in the rebuilding of our country is
increasingly weakening.

I am sure we all understand well that the enumeration of
specific factors responsible for such failures, or for this
matter, finger pointing to this or that individual,
institution, party or group, is quite unfavorable and
counter-productive attitude in our culture of Afghan dialogue
and interaction. I therefore, would like to knowingly avoid
such a destructive attitude, and would rather invite your
attention to the real issues - - the most crucial issues that
really matters for the present and the future of our beloved
homeland, for the region, and for the international community
at large. Those vital issues are the key issues of durable
peace and rebuilding in Afghanistan - - the issues that we
need to address collectively and comprehensively, with a
great sense of responsibility, a true spirit of patriotism
and urgency, before it is too late. Otherwise, the increasing

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flames of the ongoing fire, God forbid, will not only engulf
our country and the entire region, but it may easily lead to
a catastrophic global crisis of an unprecedented nature and
scale. I can not emphasize more here that it is high time to
act peacefully and politically - - to act now - - and to act
responsibly, in unison and collectively, before it is too

It is in view of these vital concerns and grave
responsibilities that I with a great respect to the free will
and supreme interests of the Afghan nation, with due
attention to the precarious situation at home and the
disturbing developments in our neighborhood, being mindful of
the catastrophic impact that such a dangerous trend of
developments could have on the further aggravation of the
situation in Afghanistan and in the region, urge your
immediate attention to a peace process that I have sought for
a comprehensive, realistic and practical settlement of the
ongoing Afghan conflict.

The peace process that I propose has several stages involving
some peaceful, political, constitutional and Afghanistan-wide
(nation-wide) inter-Afghan interactions. This process begins
with the launching of a practical mechanism for the
initiation of a truly inclusive and all-encompassing
inter-Afghan dialogue and ends with the formation of a
broad-based and fully representative government of national
unity in Afghanistan - - a democratic and elected government
that is seen as legitimate and acceptable to the Afghan
people and credible by the international community, who are
still ready and willing to help our people in achieving a
durable peace and the rebuilding of our country. With all
due respect to the Islamic, national and traditional values
of the people of Afghanistan and those of the standard,
modern and universal elements in conflict resolution, my
proposed peace process for a comprehensive, peaceful and
political settlement of the Afghan conflict, involves the
following phases:

I. Alliance for Peace and Reconstruction of Afghanistan

Formation of an "Alliance for Peace and Reconstruction of
Afghanistan" as a nation-wide mechanism for the launching of
a truly inclusive and Afghanistan-wide inter-Afghan dialogue,
encompassing all segments of Afghan society, the government,
the opposition parties and groups, the armed or unarmed
individuals and formations. The prime mission of this
Alliance would be to secure a nation-wide understanding and
consensus of the Afghan people, aimed at mobilizing their
active support, in unison and harmony with the international
community, towards peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
This Alliance, composed of credible, effective and eminent
representatives of the Afghan nation, including the local
chieftains and elderly, religious scholars, tribal leaders,
the crippled and handicaps, former Jihad commanders, nomads,
refugees and intellectuals, shall then, in an atmosphere of
full trust, Afghan-hood and close cooperation, formulate a
comprehensive plan for the convocation of a well-organized
Permanent Loya Jirga of the Afghan people, to lead our
country during a transition period of recovery from war to
peace and reconstruction, following the end of the mandate of
the current Government. While drawing this plan of action, it
would be very essential for the Alliance to discuss and agree
upon the most vital issues that the Permanent Loya Jirga
should address in its deliberations and decision making
processes, including the necessary amendments to the
Constitution of Afghanistan - - the kind of amendments that
would allow the establishment of a parliamentary democracy in
our homeland; the formation of a truly inclusive, fully
representative and decentralized organs of governments at the
central, provincial and local levels.

Once the Alliance, based upon the principals of a nation-wide
(Afghanistan-wide) dialogue, reaches a full understanding and
a consensus with regard to all of the vital issues
highlighted above, then the plan for the convocation of a
well-organized Permanent Loya Jirga of the Afghan people

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shall be launched as the second phase of my proposed peace

II. Convocation of a Permanent Loya Jirga

With all due respect to the results and conclusions of the
inclusive and Afghanistan-wide inter-Afghan dialogue, to be
produced in the form of a nation-wide consensus and as part
of the first phase of my proposed peace process; with due
respect to the Article 64 of the Constitution of Afghanistan,
a truly representative and Permanent Loya Jirga of the Afghan
people shall be convened to lead Afghanistan during a
transition period of recovery from war to peace and the
rebuilding of our country. This Permanent Loya Jirga shall
freely discuss and decide upon the following major issues:

1) The need for the formation of Interim Institutions to
govern Afghanistan after the end of the mandate of the
current Government;
2) An orderly transfer of powers from the current legislative
bodies of Afghanistan to a Permanent Loya Jirga of the Afghan
3) An orderly transfer of powers from the current Afghan
Government to an Interim Government of National Unity;
4) The form, the composition and the mandate of the Interim
Government, to lead Afghanistan until such time as a
broad-based and fully representative government that shall be
produced through free and fair elections, is established;
5) An orderly transfer of powers from the current judiciary
bodies of the country to an Interim one;
6) Review of the current Constitution of Afghanistan and the
need for its amendment, aimed at replacing the current
presidential system with a parliamentary democracy, and the
establishment of a truly representative and decentralized
forms of governance, including, executive, legislative and
judiciary bodies at the central, provincial and district
7) Review of the physical, social and economic security of
the people in Afghanistan and the effective ways and means to
address them;
8) The presence of the international community in
Afghanistan, their form, their mission and their mandate in
the country, including the UN, EU, ISAF, NATO, other
Governmental, Inter-Governmental and Non--Governmental
Organizations, and seeking effective ways and means to
coordinate their efforts towards peace and reconstruction of
9) Review of comprehensive, alternative and rational
solutions of short-term, medium-term and long-term nature
that shall prevent Afghanistan from becoming an opium-based
economy and a narco-state;
10) Review of the effective ways and means to live in peace
and harmony with our neighbors in the region.

As already noted, the Permanent Loya Jirga of the Afghan
people, upon its completion of a thorough and comprehensive
review of the major issues highlighted above, and upon the
successful accomplishment of the mandate of the Interim
Government, shall then call for the holding of general and
democratic elections in the country, to be supervised by the
United Nations as the third and last stage of my proposed
peace process.

III. Holding of General and Democratic Elections

With the full accomplishment of the tasks highlighted under
the Phase I and the Phase II of my proposed peace process,
the conditions shall be then ready for holding general, free
and democratic elections in our beloved homeland. As a result
of these elections, the people of Afghanistan, according to
the provision of a new Constitution, shall vote for a
parliamentary system; an inclusive form of legislative
bodies; and a truly broad-based representative government
capable of electing a new Head of State and a Prime Minister
for the country - - a government that shall be capable of
maintaining a nation-wide and durable peace and security in
our homeland; and providing the required conditions for a

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swifter and steadier rebuilding of Afghanistan long ravaged
by war. Likewise, no doubt that the constructive developments
as such in Afghanistan will help the international community
to succeed their human mission of rescuing our region and the
world at large from the catastrophic menace of terror, war,
devastation and drug that presently threaten the very
survival of the humanity on a global scale.

My Beloved Compatriots,

The time dictates that we should move beyond the bitterness,
the pettiness and the anger that has consumed our country for
almost three decades now and that has posed a great danger to
the regional and global peace and security. In order to put
an end to politics that is about war, division and
confrontation, and in order to reconcile for the sake of our
children and those of the future generations of our globe, we
need to think about forgiveness and inclusion rather then
hatred and exclusion; we need to build a true coalition and
alliance for peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

My sincere appeal to you is that my proposed peace process
and thereby the formation of an inclusive and nation-wide
(Afghanistan-wide) alliance will certainly allow the Afghan
people to undergo a transition period of political, social
and economic recovery, and to effect a smooth, a peaceful, a
legitimate and a constitutional transformation from rivalry
to reconciliation, from confrontation to cooperation, from
war to peace, and from destruction to rebuilding in our
beloved and prideful homeland. What we should focus on at
this time is to draw lessons from our bitter past and to
replace those bitter lessons with love brotherhood and social

The realization in practice of my proposed peace process
shall allow our nation to develop a system of local
self-governance, with democratically elected institutions of
fully functioning and representative organs at all levels,
including district, provincial and state levels, with strong
bounds to the central government in a united and indivisible

I firmly believe that this is how we shall finally overcome
our bitter past and this is how we shall collectively meet
the challenges that we face as a united and indivisible
nation - - a nation to be at peace in itself and with its
neighbors. This is how we shall meet the challenge of
restoring peace in our country and the challenge of
rebuilding Afghanistan.

Whilst success comes from God the Great, with maturity and
resolve, with patience and perseverance, with the strong will
of the Afghan people, and with the persistent help of the
international community, we shall collectively and
successfully meet the crucial challenges before us.

God Bless You, Dear Compatriots

Your Servant

Mostapha Zaher

End text.

© Scoop Media

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