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Cablegate: Jowzjan - June 2008 Six Month Update

VZCZCXRO9584
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #1782/01 1990611
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170611Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4724
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 001782

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: JOWZJAN - JUNE 2008 SIX MONTH UPDATE

KABUL 00001782 001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Security in the northern province of Jowzjan has
improved over the past six months, at least partly due to efforts of
the new governor, Hashem Zari. Some districts bordering Tajikistan
remain insecure because of smuggling and other insurgency-related
criminal activity. Dostum's recent clash in Kabul with the Turkmen
leader Akbar Bay does not seem to concern most people in the
province. Drought has caused significant problems in both grain
production and animal grazing. Governor Zari is negotiating grazing
rights with neighboring Turkmenistan. The Provincial Council works
well with both Governor Zari and Kabul's line ministry
representatives. Governor Zari has established a strong, positive
role in the province since his appointment in November 2007. He has
strong relations with all provincial authorities, including the
newly appointed chief of the National Directorate of Security.
Security: Calm and Improving
-----------------------------
2. (SBU) Jowzjan is calm and security has improved over the last six
months despite potential inter-ethnic conflict and rival political
parties. Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HiG) reportedly contributes to
increased instability in the remote districts of Qushtepa and
Darzab. Local support for extremists and ongoing criminal activity
in those districts may cause deterioration in security, linked to
the neighboring districts of Belcheragh and Sayyd, in Faryab and
Sar-e-Pul provinces, respectively.
3. (SBU) The northern border district of Qarqin remains vulnerable
due to smuggling of drugs and weapons, and potential insurgent or
anti-GIROA activity driven by Turkmen minority movements. Most
insurgent activity is limited to recruitment, propaganda and
smuggling.
4. (SBU) Dostum's recent clash in Kabul with Turkmen leader Akbar
Bay and the Afghan government's reaction to the incident did not
have a strong impact in Jowzjan. Local political leaders, including
Junbesh party leaders, downplayed the incident. While many in
Jowzjan province, especially ethnic Uzbeks, consider Dostum the
"founding father" of Junbesh and the Uzbek "national hero" of
liberation, most say Dostum's clash with Bay and Karzai is not
relevant to daily life in Jowzjan.
Development: Drought Has Affected Agriculture
---------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) Jowzjan's primarily agricultural and rain-fed economy has
been significantly impacted by drought. Governor Zari is discussing
potential temporary grazing rights with Turkmenistan. Reportedly,
meat prices dropped during the spring because of oversupply
resulting from farmers slaughtering cattle due to lack of animal
feed.
6. (SBU) Shebergan city is the only major urban area in the
province. Industry is limited, although U.S. assistance is targeted
at reviving oil production and processing around Shebergan.
Underemployment continues to drive farmers to urban centers and
young men to Pakistan or Iran, usually leaving their families
behind. Turkmen communities weave carpets, which is often the major
source of income in these rural areas.
7. (SBU) According to Provincial Council (PC) members and some
political leaders, work on getting the central government's approval
and funding of the Provincial Development Plan is progressing well,
partly thanks to Governor Zari's efforts to connect the PC members
with ministries and parliamentarians in Kabul. The Governor
organized several trips to Kabul for PC members and other provincial
elders to meet with President Karzai and ministry representatives.

Governance: New Governor Starts Well
------------------------------------
8. (SBU) Hashem Zari became governor in November 2007 after a
six-month vacancy following the abrupt departure of Juma Khan
Hamdard in May 2007. Zari gets along well with the PC, most line
ministry directors, and most political players in the province,
although there appears to be tension between him and Deputy Governor
Faquir. Zari always emphasizes his political independence and walks
a fine line between old Dostum supporters and other players in the
province. There are some indications that he may favor Junbesh, as
he seems to have bureaucratically hindered the establishment of a
Jamiat political office in Shebergan. The power struggle between
Dostum and his rivals in the region seems to be slowly fading,
although any movement to limit Dostum's position could quickly
instigate new problems, especially if Dostum decides to mobilize the
network of sub-commanders he still controls.
9. (SBU) Jowzjan's PC functions independently and cooperates well
with Governor Zari and the line ministries. All of the PC members
are active in discussions and are well informed about the line
ministries' work and the Provincial Development Plan's priorities.
10. (SBU) The Provincial Chief of Police faces difficult challenges

KABUL 00001782 002.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Security in the northern province of Jowzjan has
improved over the past six months, at least partly due to efforts of
the new governor, Hashem Zari. Some districts bordering Tajikistan
remain insecure because of smuggling and other insurgency-related
criminal activity. Dostum's recent clash in Kabul with the Turkmen
leader Akbar Bay does not seem to concern most people in the
province. Drought has caused significant problems in both grain
production and animal grazing. Governor Zari is negotiating grazing
rights with neighboring Turkmenistan. The Provincial Council works
well with both Governor Zari and Kabul's line ministry
representatives. Governor Zari has established a strong, positive
role in the province since his appointment in November 2007. He has
strong relations with all provincial authorities, including the
newly appointed chief of the National Directorate of Security.
Security: Calm and Improving
-----------------------------
2. (SBU) Jowzjan is calm and security has improved over the last six
months despite potential inter-ethnic conflict and rival political
parties. Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HiG) reportedly contributes to
increased instability in the remote districts of Qushtepa and
Darzab. Local support for extremists and ongoing criminal activity
in those districts may cause deterioration in security, linked to
the neighboring districts of Belcheragh and Sayyd, in Faryab and
Sar-e-Pul provinces, respectively.
3. (SBU) The northern border district of Qarqin remains vulnerable
due to smuggling of drugs and weapons, and potential insurgent or
anti-GIROA activity driven by Turkmen minority movements. Most
insurgent activity is limited to recruitment, propaganda and
smuggling.
4. (SBU) Dostum's recent clash in Kabul with Turkmen leader Akbar
Bay and the Afghan government's reaction to the incident did not
have a strong impact in Jowzjan. Local political leaders, including
Junbesh party leaders, downplayed the incident. While many in
Jowzjan province, especially ethnic Uzbeks, consider Dostum the
"founding father" of Junbesh and the Uzbek "national hero" of
liberation, most say Dostum's clash with Bay and Karzai is not
relevant to daily life in Jowzjan.
Development: Drought Has Affected Agriculture
---------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) Jowzjan's primarily agricultural and rain-fed economy has
been significantly impacted by drought. Governor Zari is discussing
potential temporary grazing rights with Turkmenistan. Reportedly,
meat prices dropped during the spring because of oversupply
resulting from farmers slaughtering cattle due to lack of animal
feed.
6. (SBU) Shebergan city is the only major urban area in the
province. Industry is limited, although U.S. assistance is targeted
at reviving oil production and processing around Shebergan.
Underemployment continues to drive farmers to urban centers and
young men to Pakistan or Iran, usually leaving their families
behind. Turkmen communities weave carpets, which is often the major
source of income in these rural areas.
7. (SBU) According to Provincial Council (PC) members and some
political leaders, work on getting the central government's approval
and funding of the Provincial Development Plan is progressing well,
partly thanks to Governor Zari's efforts to connect the PC members
with ministries and parliamentarians in Kabul. The Governor
organized several trips to Kabul for PC members and other provincial
elders to meet with President Karzai and ministry representatives.

with district police chiefs who are rumored to be selling weapons to
insurgents or criminals. Relations between the police and the
National Directorate for Security (NDS) have improved since the
appointment of a new NDS director, a Jamiat supporter.
WOOD

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