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Cablegate: Ghazni Province: Security Remains a Challenge, But

VZCZCXRO0330
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #1508/01 1740549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 220549Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4447
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001508

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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: PREL PGOV PTER ECON AF
SUBJECT: GHAZNI PROVINCE: SECURITY REMAINS A CHALLENGE, BUT
SLOWLY IMPROVING GOVERNANCE BRINGS HOPE

REF: KABUL 752

1. (SBU) Summary: Security in Ghazni's Pashtun belt remains
a challenge, but the Afghan National Police (ANP) are slowly
improving. The province is beginning to attract more donor
attention, which will hopefully revive Ghazni's stagnant
economic development. Ghazni has had four governors in the
last nine months, but security chiefs have remained in place
and the Provincial Council's performance has improved
substantially.

Security: Number of Incidents Increases, but Police Begin to
Improve
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) The number of security incidents in Ghazni during
the first six months of 2008 was 16 percent higher than the
corresponding period in 2007. Insurgent tactics consist
primarily of small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire on
military convoys and commercial trucks, and of IED
emplacement. The latter has become more effective as
insurgents develop larger and more sophisticated
pressure-plate devices and implant them in greater numbers.
In May 2008, a section of the Ring Road was damaged when a
large IED exploded in a culvert * the first instance of a
paved road being mined in Ghazni. Most of Ghazni's secondary
dirt roads are heavily mined, preventing rural Pashtuns from
easily accessing the Ring Road and its markets and inhibiting
reconstruction activities. Still, insurgents faced a robust
response by Coalition and Afghan National Security Forces.
The U.S. Army maneuver battalion in Ghazni has expanded its
presence to Giro district, while the PRT plans to build
additional paved roads in several turbulent districts.

3. (SBU) Ghazni's ANP are also doing a better job of
responding to insurgent attacks. In at least three instances
this year, police held their ground, returned fire, and drove
off attackers. A Guam National Guard company partners with
police in Qarabagh district, helping the ANP to man several
outposts and ensure Ring Road security. Focused District
Development (FDD) has begun in Deh Yak District and will
expand to three more districts by year's end. Afghan
National Civil Order Police are well regarded in Deh Yak,
though some residents complain that they do not patrol
sufficiently. Governor Usman will reach out to elders and
mullahs to ensure that FDD recruitment shuras net qualified
candidates.

Development: New Activities on the Horizon
------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Development in Ghazni is stagnant, though increased
donor attention may help to change that. UNAMA plans to open
a field office in the province. The PRT has oriented its
reconstruction activities toward road building and support to
the education and health sectors in the Hazara belt. A new
Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team and a
Polish addition to PRT Ghazni arrive this month, expanding
the PRT's reach and resources. GIRoA's own development
activities are still hampered by staff vacancies,
particularly in critical sectors such as health and
agriculture. The Provincial Development Council is
ineffective, though the addition of two technical advisors
funded by USAID's Local Governance and Community Development
(LGCD) program and continued PRT mentoring should improve its
performance.

Governance: Turmoil in the Governor's Office, but the
Provincial Council Gains Stature
--------------------------------------------- ----

5. (SBU) There has been considerable turmoil at the top of
the provincial administration, with four governors since
August. Ghazni's latest Governor, Dr. Mohammad Usman, took
office on May 31, following the short terms of Sher Khosti
(March - May 2008) and Faisanullah Faisan (September 2007 -
March 2008). Usman's priorities include outreach to
religious and tribal leaders and to local insurgent fighters
who might be reconciled to the government. He proposes to

KABUL 00001508 002 OF 002


link the government to the people through the creation of
elders, and mullahs, shuras at the district and village
level. This approach has worked well in Deh Yak, Ghazni's
most successful Pashtun-belt district (reftel). Usman has
been well-received by local leaders who were alienated by his
predecessor's western ways. LGCD has placed technical
advisors in the Governor's office.

6. (SBU) After a two-month delay, Ghazni's Provincial Council
(PC) held leadership elections in March. Under new leaders,
it is showing unprecedented dynamism. It no longer treats
the PRT as the solution of first resort. Instead, the PC
summons line directors and NGO representatives, questions
them on their work, and demands results.

7. (SBU) Ghazni's police force is understaffed, with roughly
1,800 officers out of a Tashkil (staffing plan) allotment of
2,777. Afghan National Auxiliary Police (ANAP) &sustainment
training8 reaches 80 to 90 men each month. Before the ANAP
program ends on October 1st, most ANAP will receive
sustainment training, enabling them to transition to regular
police service. Deh Yak became Ghazni's first FDD district
in March, and its police will return from FDD training in
late June. Provincial Police Chief Khan Mohammad, in office
since November 2007, is starting to lose momentum. In the
beginning, he weeded ghost police from the roles, implemented
electronic salary payment for 300 men, and got MOI ID cards
to 1,740 ANP, but he has recently been accused of corruption.
At a minimum, he has become less proactive, though several
of his staff officers are promising and carry out reforms.

8. (SBU) Most of Ghazni's 19 District Administrators (DAs)
are ineffectual, but the situation is improving. Former
Governor Khosti relieved three weak performers, but he had
difficulty finding qualified persons for DA slots. Governor
Usman plans to ask local elders and mullahs to caucus and
propose candidates to him, ensuring popular support for new
DAs. District centers remain inadequate in terms of
security, facilities and staffing; many are little more than
police stations. In April, LGCD trained DAs and district
department heads. Among the line ministries, the Health and
Finance line ministries are still strong performers, while
Education, under a new director, has lost momentum and focus.
Justice sector departments benefit from INL's Justice Sector
Support Program and new CJTF-101 Rule of Law initiatives.
However, pay, infrastructure and popular skepticism limit
modern legal institutions, reach and effectiveness.
DELL

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