Cablegate: Badghis Province: Difficult Weather Conditions Affect
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1459 1650937
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130937Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4365
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 001459
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
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER ECON AF
SUBJECT: BADGHIS PROVINCE: DIFFICULT WEATHER CONDITIONS AFFECT
ECONOMY AS GOVERNMENT TRIES TO MAINTAIN SECURITY
1. Summary: The combination of the past winter's record-cold
temperatures and the current drought has dominated governance
activities and will have profound implications for Badghis's
agriculture-based economy. Badghis's economic infrastructure
remains primitive. The provincial security situation is in flux,
but the insurgency shows signs of splitting.
Security: Weakening Insurgency
2. Insurgents were expected to launch an aggressive spring offensive
this year, but the worst predictions did not come to pass. While
insurgents can still gather in large numbers and have freedom of
movement in Bala Murghab and Ghormach districts, fault lines within
the insurgency appear to have developed following the February
arrest of Mullah Destagir, the number two and rumored ideological
leader of the Badghis insurgency. His arrest has shaken the
insurgents' leadership structure and has created an environment of
distrust and suspicion within it. The leader of the Badghis
insurgency, Mullah Haqqani, was wounded in a shootout with another
Badghis insurgent group.
3. The performance of the Afghan National Police (ANP) remains
mixed. While there has been a noticeable improvement in provincial
leadership with the arrival of Deputy ANP Commander Waheed, much
work remains in the fields of discipline and training.
Development: Increased Donor Support
4. Basic economic infrastructure in Badghis remains primitive.
There are no paved roads in the entire province, and Ring Road
construction stops at the Badghis border. Electricity is limited to
the towns of Qal-e-Now and Jawand. The largest international donor
to the province remains the Spanish PRT, which annually contributes
USD 20 million in funds for infrastructure projects such as road
construction and water projects. The Government of Norway, through
PRT Maymana, has funded the French NGO ACTED with USD 4.5 million
specifically for projects in the insecure district of Ghormach.
USAID is strengthening its presence in Badghis with their Local
Governance Community Development Program.
Governance: Improvements in Disaster Relief
5. Much of Badghis's governance activities have been limited to
responding to this winter's severe weather and the current drought.
Snow and freezing temperatures combined to kill more than 220 people
and left tens of thousands of livestock dead. After a slow start,
the performance of the province's Combined Disaster Management Team
improved. While still heavily dependent on international community
assistance, the response to the winter crisis was better organized
with less corruption than efforts in previous years (provincial
officials sold food aid rather than distribute it in previous
years). As the effects of the drought become more evident - meat
prices have already dropped by a third as farmers slaughter their
livestock and sell the meat before the herds die in the fields - the
generally weak line ministries will be hard-pressed to deal with the
long-term problems such as large-scale unemployment, internally
displaced persons, and disputes over scarce resources.
6. Governor Naseri is spending increasing amounts of time in Kabul.
Although he actively seeks funds and development projects from both
the GIRoA and the international community, his lack of presence in
Qal-e Now is noticeable. The Provincial Council (PC) remains
plagued by high absenteeism and a generally low activity level.
7. In Ghormach, UNAMA and RC North-PRT Maymana meet regularly with
the 69-member tribal shura that was formed following a November 2007
RC North operation. In June 2008, members of the shura signed a
document committing to creating the security environment necessary
for development. Whether this document will affect insurgent
activities in Ghormach is still unclear.