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Cablegate: Prt Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province: Garmsir's Improved

VZCZCXRO5174
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1413 1620907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100907Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4322
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 KABUL 001413

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, EUR/RPM
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR WILKES
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-101 POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP MOPS PREL PGOV PTER PHUM AF
SUBJECT: PRT LASHKAR GAH, HELMAND PROVINCE: GARMSIR'S IMPROVED
SECURITY SITUATION

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The UK-led PRT in Lashkar Gah deployed a
stabilization team to Garmsir on June 1. The team is working with
the district leadership to establish reconstruction and development
priorities. The District Administrator has established his office
and is meeting with city residents and ISAF forces to support
development activities. Numerous shop owners returned to the
central bazaar; families are returning to their abandoned compounds,
and the city is coming back to life after the cessation of fighting.
The Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan Border Police (ABP) are
working well with ISAF forces and coordinating joint patrols to
expand their security footprint. ISAF's recent military success has
created an opportunity for GIRoA to extend its control over Garmsir
district.

Garmsir Stabilization
---------------------

2. (SBU) The PRT's stabilization team deployed to Garmsir on June 1
and immediately met with district leadership to establish
reconstruction and development priorities. The District
Administrator, Abdullah Jan, told PRT officers that local residents
welcomed ISAF operations and were eager to return to their homes.
He said many of the enemy forces who had controlled the area were
foreigners and treated local residents badly. The insurgents forced
local residents to provide housing and food, and many farmers had
been unable to harvest their crops because of the constant fighting.
Jan said local residents needed clarification from UK and U.S.
forces so they would know which roads were open and cleared of
explosives. He agreed to meet regularly with ISAF commanders to
review the cleared routes.

Need for Additional Governance and Security Personnel
--------------------------------------------- --------
3. (SBU) Jan said he needs staff from Helmand line ministries to
build governance capacity. He has contacted Governor Mangal to
address this and other governance and security needs. The Chief of
Police, Colonel Gulli, is from the Garmsir area, and he and his men
have the local knowledge to stop the enemy force from infiltrating
back into the city. Jan said the ANP and ABP have a good working
relationship and are manning checkpoints and patrolling with ISAF.
Jan said he has about 70 ANP and about 95 ABP to support ISAF
efforts, but he has asked Mangal for Afghan National Army forces to
expand the security area around the city.

Reconstruction: Hospital and Bazaar are Priorities
--------------------------------------------- -----
4. (SBU) The stabilization team discussed reconstruction priorities
with local residents who most frequently requested repairs to the
city hospital and central bazaar. The city hospital is rundown but
structurally sound, and with cleaning and renovation could be
operational in weeks. The stabilization team's medical staff worked
with the local doctor and his staff at the facility to compile a
list of needed medical supplies. Residents also requested the
reopening of the bazaar as soon as possible so they could buy food
and other needed items. Lashkar Gah is 60 kilometers away; many
residents said they could not make this trip and were running low on
supplies. There are several hundred shop stalls at the central
bazaar, most in useable condition, and at least a dozen shop owners
had reopened their shops. The PRT stabilization team is working
closely with the U.S. Marine Corps civil affairs team to coordinate
development activities and develop a comprehensive reconstruction
plan for Garmsir.

5. (SBU) Comment: The deployment of the stabilization team to
Garmsir was welcomed by UK and U.S. forces so the reconstruction and
development program could move forward. The stabilization team's
medical, engineer and governance officers worked with local
officials to build an initial plan based on local needs to help
support the return of city residents. With sustained transport and
security support from ISAF, this stabilization effort can deliver
better conditions to the local population very quickly after the
conclusion of military operations. Early establishment of a
central government presence in the district, as both security
provider and dispenser of development aid and services, is key to
securing this area from re-infiltration by insurgents.

DELL

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