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Cablegate: Zabul Province: Security Improves, Allowing More

VZCZCXRO0448
RR RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #1523/01 1741251
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221251Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4453
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001523

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, 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: PGOV PREL PTER ECON AF
SUBJECT: ZABUL PROVINCE: SECURITY IMPROVES, ALLOWING MORE
DEVELOPMENT AND RECONSTRUCTION

REF: A) Kabul 1030, B) Kabul 1137

1. (SBU) Summary: Security in Zabul is improving thanks to the
Focused District Development (FDD) program, but an unintended
consequence of better-trained police is that they are attractive to
other employers. With improved security comes a focus on road
building, training and other development projects. Governor Arman
is hopeful that a business park currently under construction will
attract businesses and the international community to Zabul.

Governor Arman Leads the Way
----------------------------
2. (SBU) Zabul Governor Delbar Jan Arman, now in his fourth year
leading the province, has begun to see his vision of "putting Zabul
on the map" take shape. At the same time, perhaps because of
improved security, governance, and reconstruction, he has become
impatient with central government ministries that seem to impede his
vision of making Zabul an agricultural and commercial powerhouse
with a modern provincial capital city. His most serious conflict is
with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), which has increasingly
asserted its right to direct all police operations in Zabul without
guidance from, or coordination with, Governor Arman. (NOTE:
Currently, Afghan law does not provide for a clear division of
authority between the governor and the MOI when it comes to the
police. Parliament's lower house is considering related amendments
to the 2005 Police Law.) The Governor has also found himself at
odds with some members of the Provincial Council, who criticize him
for not delivering more visible progress in reconstruction. These
accusations may be based on a shift in development focus from
quick-impact projects to less visible community-led programs and
capacity-building in the provincial government.

SECURITY: POSITIVE RESULTS FROM FDD
----------------------------------
3. (SBU) Zabul's three Highway One districts (Shajoy, Qalat, and
Tarnak-wa-Jaldak) were in the first FDD cycle. FDD improved highway
security, eliminating illegal tolls collected by some Afghan
National Police, particularly the so-called Afghan Highway Police,
and by others. Both anecdotal and formal survey data show that the
population in all three districts has a much improved view of the
ANP (ref A).

4. (SBU) Despite FDD's success, serious problems remain with Zabul
ANP. ANP patrolmen and NCOs are resigning at an alarming rate (at
least 90 have resigned in the past four months), and there are many
fewer ANP on duty in Zabul than the MOI's Tashkil (staffing plan)
specifies. ANP are resigning in an orderly fashion, turning in
their weapons and uniforms, and there is no indication that they are
going over to the enemy. Rather, according to interviews with a
number of ex-ANP, they are taking advantage of their training and
experience to obtain better-paying jobs with the ANA (8000 versus
5000 afghanis per month, or USD 160 versus 100) or private security
firms, which pay up to 18,000 afghanis (USD 360) per month.

5. (SBU) The previous U.S. Army Police Mentor Team (PMT) that
oversaw FDD implementation in Zabul was primarily concerned with
teaching the FDD graduates small unit infantry tactics needed to
conduct patrols. The new PMT that took over in April has focused on
leadership, management and accountability. It is an open secret in
Zabul that there are no more than 800 active ANP personnel, while
over 1400 collect salaries. (NOTE: The Afghan Year 1387 Tashkil,
approved in May 2008, authorizes 2,082 ANP, including 836 Afghan
uniformed police and 854 border police.) The ANP leadership, who
rarely leave provincial police headquarters, do not know how many
ANP are active at any given post. The new PMT is trying to rectify
ANP salary discrepancies, and recently the provincial Chief of
Police (COP) arrested three of his headquarters staff officers for
embezzlement. To the great annoyance of the COP, PMT and Governor,
the MOI told the COP to release the suspects - despite clear
evidence against them - apparently because one of them is the
Minister of Interior's cousin. The Governor and COP resisted, and
the officers remain imprisoned. The ANP housecleaning process will
be painful and somewhat destabilizing, but is a necessary step to
create a professional, reasonably honest police force in Zabul.

Development: Better Security Permits Road Construction
--------------------------------------------- ---------
6. (SBU) Although plans and funding to pave roads connecting Qalat

KABUL 00001523 002 OF 002


City to the districts have existed for over two years, insecurity
held up construction. In the first half of 2008, security
operations stopped enemy attacks against road workers. Construction
is moving ahead on "Route Duck", an asphalt road linking Qalat City
to Shinkay scheduled to be completed in August 2009. Construction
on "Route Chicken," linking Qalat City to Mizan, is also
proceeding.

Capacity-Building in the Provincial Government
--------------------------------------------- -
7. (U) USAID's Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD)
program came into full swing in the first half of 2008. Six Afghan
national trainers employed by Development Alternatives International
(DAI) conducted workshops on office skills and public administration
for Zabul line ministry departments. The PRT supplemented this
training by partnering civil affairs personnel with line ministry
directors. DAI and the PRT also provided direct mentoring to the
Secretariat of the Provincial Development Committee to develop
procedures for running efficient and productive meetings. DAI
conducted a one-week workshop on public administration for district
administrators. Feedback regarding this training has been uniformly
positive, and every line ministry department now has in place at
least rudimentary accounting and personnel systems. Thanks to the
recent arrival in Qalat of a highly capable Independent Directorate
for Local Governance (IDLG) Advisor, the PRT expects even greater
progress in capacity building in the line ministry departments
throughout 2008.

Agriculture at the Heart of the Economy
---------------------------------------
8. (U) The addition of a USDA Advisor to PRT Qalat and a greater
USAID commitment of funds to agricultural programs has led to
tangible progress in the agriculture sector. Under the supervision
of the Agriculture Director and USDA Advisor, the previously
moribund "tree nursery" in Qalat City has been transformed into a
lush "Zabul Horticultural Research Station and Nursery." The
facility includes test plots for improved seed varieties and a test
orchard. Zabul's wheat harvest is above average thanks to the heavy
snows last winter and extensive improvements in irrigation systems
from World Food Program (WFP) food-for-work programs and CERP-funded
well and irrigation projects. The Agriculture Department, in
collaboration with the USDA Advisor, USAID, Women's Affairs
Director, and Social Affairs Director, are running programs that
train and pay women to plant and care for seedling trees at the
Horticultural Research Station and to raise chickens at their homes.
The poultry-raising program provides the women with a month of
training in poultry care, and gives the women's families materials
and training to construct chicken coops. At the end of the
training, each woman receives 15 pullets. These programs address
the Governor and PDC's plans for re-foresting parts of Zabul,
increasing wheat yields, increasing production of income-generating
export crops (especially almonds and pomegranates) that can be
easily transported on Highway One, and establishing a profitable
poultry industry.

"Putting Zabul on the Map"
-------------------------
9. (U) Two crucial pieces of Governor Arman's vision for "putting
Zabul on the map" are the completion of a
government/education/commercial center in Qalat City (ref B) and
intensive development of alternative energy solutions. Arman, a
trained hydro-electric engineer, is committed to implementing solar,
wind and mini-hydro power and irrigation projects in Zabul. The
business park is partially built, but will require approximately 30
million USD to complete. Governor Arman hopes that the business
park will draw NGOs, IOs, and businesses to Zabul, driving robust
wealth creation and economic growth, supported by ongoing
improvements in secondary roads and increased agricultural
production. But this will remain little more than a vision until
funding can be found.
WOOD

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