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Cablegate: Prt Herat: Semi-Annual Herat Province Review

VZCZCXRO1612
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #1551 1760549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240549Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4457
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN 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 001551

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: PRT Herat: Semi-Annual Herat Province Review

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Herat enjoys a relatively stable security
situation, an improvement from this past spring when there was a
series of kidnappings. Shindand and Guzara districts remain
unsettled. Governor Anwari has worked closely with Coalition
forces, the Italian-led PRT, international organizations, and NGOs
to improve security, governance, and development. Heratis' major
concern is the current drought and the projected poor harvest. The
UN has predicted large-scale population displacements in western
Afghanistan as people seek out alternate sources of food and water.
The PRT provides substantial resources for reconstruction and
development.

Security: Stable, But Problems to the South
-------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) The security situation in Herat is generally good, but
on-going operations in southern Afghanistan have spill-over effects
in Shindand district. Guzara district is a base for local criminal
elements. In early spring 2008, there was a spate of kidnappings,
which caused the local population to protest the deteriorating
security situation. Governor Anwari coordinated an operation with
ISAF and Afghan security forces in Guzara against the criminals, and
there have been no kidnappings since the operation.

3. (SBU) The economic vitality of Herat and Heratis' interest in
maintaining it makes infiltration by anti-government forces more
difficult. Recently, five individuals carrying approximately 110
kgs of explosives were arrested shortly after they arrived in the
province. The Regional Chief of Police (CoP) and Herat CoP are very
active in countering anti-government activity in coordination with
their U.S. military and ISAF mentors in Shindand and Farsi
districts. There have been no attacks against the PRT or PRT
personnel during the last six months, although the PRT does not
operate in all of Herat's districts.

Governance: Governor Anwari Still in Place
------------------------------------------
4. (SBU) The administration of Herat province is reasonably good and
the local government officials, with some exceptions, are reasonably
competent. As far back as September 2007, there have been rumors
that Governor Anwari would be replaced; however, he is still in
place and continues to successfully manage the province, work with
the international community on development and security, maintain
good relations with Iran, and work to counter the disruptive
influences of former governor Ismail Khan's agents in Herat. He has
been able to gain not only the public support of local religious
leaders, but also the support of local former mujahideen who were
unhappy about being excluded from the government with Khan's
departure to Kabul as Energy Minister. Rumors persist, however,
that he will be replaced soon.

Development: Both Quick-Impact and Long-Term
--------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) The Italian contribution to development in Herat is made by
the military and civilian components via coordinated though separate
programs. The Italian military concentrates on quick-impact
projects carried out by its civilian affairs staff, and the yearly
budget is about 5 million euros. The civilian component works on
longer-term development projects, and its budget comes from Italy's
overall development budget for Afghanistan of about 40 million
euros, including 10 million euros for Herat. Since the Italians
took over the PRT in 2005, they have spent 40 million euros on
reconstruction. Iran continues to invest in Herat with construction
of the railroad continuing, but with only Iranian engineers and
labor. Given the availability of development resources from the
international community, provincial officials find it easier to ask
for international help rather than raise their concerns with Kabul.

WOOD

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