Cablegate: Usd(P) Edelman Briefs On Afghanistan and Pakistan
DE RUEHNO #0208/01 1701326
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 181326Z JUN 08
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1978
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0371
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU 0097
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0391
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV 0107
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0378
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 0177
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 3384
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 5602
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA 4520
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0241
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 5501
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0698
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 USNATO 000208
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/11/2018
TAGS: NATO PREL MOPS MARR AF PK
SUBJECT: USD(P) EDELMAN BRIEFS ON AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
Classified By: Ambassador Victoria Nuland, for reasons 1.4(B) and (D).
1. (C) SUMMARY. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric
Edelman used his June 5 meeting with NATO PermReps and a
separate session with NATO SYG de Hoop Scheffer to brief on
his May 27-June 5 visit to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Lebanon
and to urge Allies to contribute more to Afghan police
training and use their political influence with Islamabad.
USDP Edelman said he found President Karzai concerned about
political turmoil in Pakistan and recent border developments.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's new political leadership
underestimates the threat from its domestic insurgency, and
its military is in need of retraining to confront it.
Regarding Lebanon, USDP Edelman was "more optimistic" than he
had expected to be. END SUMMARY.
AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN
2. (C) Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman
told NATO PermReps on June 5 that, after his recent visit to
Kabul and Islamabad, he believes Afghanistan will require a
long-term approach that focuses efforts on improving local
governance and security. Among his findings:
- (C) Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are far along
in their plans to assume leadership for security in Kabul
city this summer. ANSF are already providing "95 percent" of
- (C) In the next few months, the U.S.-led Combined Security
Transition Command- Afghanistan (CSTC-A) will be short more
than 100 district-level 12-person Police Mentoring Teams
(PMTs). European countries are well-suited for the high-end
training of police, and Germany and Italy have already
expressed interest. Focused District Development (FDD),
CSTC-A's police training program, gets the Afghan National
Police (ANP) to about "the 80 percent level", but PMTs are
needed to mentor them and finish their training. Edelman
reported that on his visit to Kapisa province (in RC-East,
where French forces will soon deploy) the difference was
clear between towns where the ANP was trained and operating
effectively versus areas where they were not and as a result
the Taliban was active.
- (C) Local governance is key to success. USDP Edelman
encouraged Allies to support the GoA's Independent
Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG). The estimated cost
to implement the overall IDLG strategy over a five-year
period is USD 296 million, of which USD 26 million is for
IDLG's recently unveiled Afghan Social Outreach Program
(ASOP) that focuses on developing local governance in eleven
- (C) UN SRSG Kai Eide needs support, especially in New York
where Allies should help ensure he gets the financial and
staffing resources he requests.
- (C) The enemy is adaptive. Officials in Regional Command
East and Regional Command Capital have seen an uptick in
insurgent attacks in Khost, Nangarhar, Kabul, and other areas
where ISAF has been successful with its development projects.
The enemy realizes it must destroy what has been built or
risk losing the support of the people.
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- (C) The Pakistani leadership, including the President,
Prime Minister, Defense Minister and new National Security
Advisor all say they are committed to fighting terrorism.
Edelman raised with them U.S. concerns about the peace
agreements in the tribal areas, noting that ISAF already sees
an increase in incidents in eastern Afghanistan attributable
to reduced pressure on militants in Pakistan.
- (C) Pakistan has two fundamental problems: the insurgency
in the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which the
political class underestimates because it remains focused on
political machinations in Islamabad; and the grave economic
crisis, characterized by low growth and balance of payments
problems, which are exacerbated by political instability.
Edelman urged Allies to weigh in with Islamabad on the need
for a strong counterinsurgency effort, to visit Pakistan at
the senior level, and to consider economic development
programs in the tribal areas.
3. (C) In response to the Greek ambassador, USDP Edelman
commented that he is not overly concerned about the
possibility that Karzai might seek to manipulate local
governance and development programs for his electoral ends,
because his political base and the root of the insurgency
overlap in the Pashtun areas.
4. (C) In response to the UK ambassador, Edelman noted that
Pakistani CHOD Kayani has told senior U.S. officials that he
wants the Pakistani military out of politics, but he noted
that the army needs retraining and reequipping to confront
domestic extremists with a counterinsurgency strategy, since
it is currently oriented towards the Indian threat. In
Kabul, Edelman added, he found Karzai eager to divert
attention to Pakistan as a source of all of Afghanistan's
5. (C) In response to the Czech ambassador, USDP Edelman
commented that the U.S. wants to reinvigorate the Tripartite
Commission and has a very active mil-to-mil relationship with
Pakistan. Admiral Mullen and other senior U.S. officials
make frequent visits to Islamabad.
6. (C) In response to the French ambassador, Edelman said
that neither ISAF nor the Afghan government has been
successful on counternarcotics, and that eradication programs
focus mostly on small farmers, making some Allies uneasy.
Edelman urged greater focus on drug labs and high-value
targets, such as drug traffickers who are also insurgents.
He pointed out that U.S. Marines in Garmsir District of
Helmand Province discovered a Taliban poppy "agro-business"
had sprung up in the absence of a GoA/ISAF presence. The UK
ambassador added that going after traffickers and high-value
targets has not had a negative effect on local opinion, in
the UK's experience. Ambassador Nuland commented that doing
nothing about narcotics also damages ISAF's image with
Afghans and noted "neutrality is not an option" when dealing
7. (C) In response to the Italian ambassador, Edelman
commented that our efforts to strengthen local governance do
not undermine the Afghan central government because there has
never been a tradition of strong central government. The
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best approach is to improve local governance and then link it
to the central government in Kabul.
8. (C) In response to the Norwegian ambassador, Edelman
expressed optimism regarding the transition to the ANSF of
security in Kabul, noting that the ANSF have shown
improvement. Regarding Provincial Reconstruction Teams
(PRTs), Edelman similarly urged a phased transition to allow
the Afghans to assume more and more responsibilities.
Transition will occur at different paces in different places
and should not be viewed as ISAF's exit strategy.
9. (C) In response to the Polish ambassador, Edelman said
that Karzai sees two fronts (Iran and Pakistan) to his
dilemmas. Edelman noted that when the U.S. Marines went into
Garmsir District recently, they learned a lot of new
information about insurgent and narcotics activities, and he
is concerned that a similar "blind spot" may exist in Nimruz
along the border with Iran.
10. (C) In response to the Canadian representative, Edelman
said that the notion of a unified approach to the Pashtun
problems in both Afghanistan and Pakistan was something U.S.
policy makers had considered, but it would be difficult to
implement on both sides of the border.
11. (C) In response to the Greek ambassador, USDP Edelman
said this was his third visit to Beirut in six months and he
said he was "more optimistic than expected." President
Suleiman is now more self-assured than he had been as CHOD
and gave an impressive inaugural speech. Still to play out
is the question of whether Hezbollah over-reached and damaged
itself by taking up arms against Lebanese in the recent
crisis. He added that he is skeptical that the recent
Syrian/Israeli dialogue will be successful given the nature
of the Damascus regime. Edelman noted that the U.S. is
developing a good mil-to-mil bilateral relationship with
SecGen de Hoop Scheffer
12. (S//NF) In his conversation with NATO SYG Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer, USDP Edelman said that he had raised with Karzai
the latter's unhelpful comments in Der Spiegel ("I wish I Had
the Taliban as My Soldiers"), and that Karzai apologized and
claimed he was misquoted. SecGen commented on a similar
interview with the Indian press saying that such coverage
could lead parliaments in troop contributing nations to
question the value of sending their troops to Afghanistan.
SecGen wondered aloud which Karzai would show up for the
Afghan Donors, Conference in Paris-- the erratic Pashtun
politician or the rational national leader. Edelman observed
that Karzai seemed preoccupied with blaming Pakistan for
Afghanistan's problems. SecGen responded that this does not
bode well for efforts to reinvigorate the Tripartite
13. (S//NF) SecGen reported that attempts to update the
Kosovo Operations Plan had run aground due to Turkish
"paranoia". The Turks have prevented PermReps from
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discussing the updated plan because of concerns about their
relationship with the European Union. SecGen asked for U.S.
assistance in convincing the Turks to be more flexible.
14. (S//NF) SecGen indicated that he disagreed with the U.S.
response to Turkish complaints about the possible involvement
of Greek aircraft from a disputed island in the Aegean in
NATO exercises. He is concerned that this could lead toward
a situation in which NATO could never exercise in the Aegean.
15. (U) USDP Edelman has cleared this cable.