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Cablegate: Bamyan Province: Improving Governance and Security

VZCZCXRO3841
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #1892/01 2050537
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230537Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4838
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 001892

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: BAMYAN PROVINCE: IMPROVING GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY

1. (SBU) Summary: Bamyan Governor Sarabi appears to be growing weary
of the jockeying over her post and may be open to changing jobs.
The Provincial Development Council has proven itself capable of
producing a coordinated development strategy. PRT Bamyan is
considering improving several districts' security ratings from amber
to green, but insurgent activity in neighboring provinces and the
Hazara-Kuchi ethnic conflict threatens stability in the province.

Governance: Governor May Be Growing Tired
-----------------------------------------
2. (SBU) As a governor with no party affiliation, Habiba Sarabi has
few political allies. Her base remains the support she gets from
the people of Bamyan and her high profile in the international
community. Despite her successes, perceptions that she has failed
to attract large-scale development projects have undercut her
popularity. Political detractors and those with interests in the
governorship perpetuate these perceptions. Afghan commentators as
well as the local population speculate on her replacement. The
Governor herself is showing more signs of weariness and possible
willingness to move on to a new position, if a suitable position is
offered. The Governor made a successful and well-publicized first
visit to New Zealand in March, but the Independent Directorate for
Local Governance (IDLG) denied several other requests for official
international travel (IDLG is concerned about governors who spend
too little time in their provinces, but Sarabi's high international
profile may also have been a factor).

3. (SBU) Bamyan has a new Director of Information and Culture. This
is a critical position; the Department of Information and Culture is
central to Bamyan's tourism and economic development efforts. The
new director, Najibullah Ihrar, a Tajik, was head of the same
department in Parwan and Baghlan provinces.

4. (SBU) Bamyan ministry representatives remain weak, but with the
support of the PRT and UNAMA, they have made strides toward improved
planning and coordination. After intensive efforts and
consultations with Kabul ministries, IDLG, and the Afghan National
Development Strategy, the Provincial Development Committee (PDC)
finalized the Provincial Development Plan (PDP). The PDC, comprised
of provincial line ministers, members of the Provincial Council, and
international organizations, is the main development planning body
in the province. The new PDP will provide visibility and
accountability of on-going and planned projects and is a prioritized
and vetted list for donors.

5. (SBU) A new USG-funded Civil Service Training Center trains over
60 civil servants for six months on management, English, and
computers. The Civil Service Commission Priority Reform and
Restructuring program continues to grapple with the problems
affecting the civil service. Lack of oversight and accountability,
lack of connection to the central government, and politically
motivated appointments continue to prevent significant progress in
the civil service, including at the district levels.

Development: New Roads and Other Projects
-----------------------------------------
6. (U) The new east-west road connecting Bamyan to Yakawlang
district is the most significant, visible project in Bamyan. The
Japanese-funded, USD 20 million, 97-km road will be the first
large-scale infrastructure project in Bamyan. The contractors are
on the ground and have begun surveying. Work will begin in summer
2008 and will continue for three years.

7. (SBU) Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) funding
remains focused on roads, schools, clinics, and access to potable
water. The Singaporean Armed Forces, with six civil-military
personnel, are in their second building season with the New Zealand
PRT. They are currently working on two medium-sized projects in the
center of Bamyan and want to expand their development program. All
projects are closely coordinated with the Provincial Development
Council. Singapore has increased the number of troops and projects
as well as completed a new Status of Forces Agreement with ISAF.
The USAID Local Governance and Community Development program is
renewing its efforts in Bamyan. After a troubled start, the program
has regained focus, hiring additional local staff and reaching into
the districts.

8. (U) The Agha Khan Development Network remains the largest
implementer in Bamyan with 11 international staff and hundreds of
local staff. They focus on projects that support capacity-building

KABUL 00001892 002 OF 002


and community contributions. Catholic Relief Services also recently
opened offices in Bamyan.

Security: Improving from Amber to Green
---------------------------------------
9. (SBU) The PRT continues to assess two of seven districts at
security code amber. The two districts - Khamard and Shibar- are
located in the northern parts of Bamyan. Insurgent influence into
Khamard from Baghlan's Tala-wa Barfak District remains a significant
concern. In late June, IEDs in Parwan Province highlighted new
perils on the primary ground route between Bamyan and Kabul. As a
result of the attacks, UNAMA and the international NGOs suspended
all ground transport to Bamyan from Kabul.

10. (SBU) The PRT underwent a review of its current threat state and
will lower the threat level in Bamyan and Sayghan districts to
green. Since May 2008, the PRT has seen decreased threat reporting
on IEDs, and there has been a decrease in violent crime. A green
designation allows PRT personnel to travel with fewer armed
soldiers. The local community notices the difference, and it makes
it easier for patrols to interact with the local population. The
lower resource requirements also allow PRT personnel to attend more
meetings and engage in more activities.

11. (SBU) Chief of Police General Ewaz is effective when he is
present, but he has a pattern of frequent and long absences. The
New Zealand Police mentor assesses General Ewaz as having made
significant progress in leadership command and putting management
controls into place. The biggest problem with the police remains
the quantity and quality of personnel. Rank reform efforts and the
demands of police training programs in other parts of the country
have prompted the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to pull personnel from
Bamyan. For example, the Bamyan Regional Training Center (training
capacity of 90 students) recently lost four of its Criminal
Investigation Division instructors to a larger facility in Herat
province. (In the past, MOI has been hard-pressed to fill
instructor positions at training facilities around the country;
however, it has been preparing over 200 new instructors and is
rapidly closing the gap.) In the transition to the new tashkil
(staffing plan) for Afghan Year 1387 (2008-2009), the allocation of
police positions to Panjab district has gone from 40 to 27 ANP
without taking into account the seasonal Kuchi migration (see para
12), which brings an influx of armed nomads into the district.
However, the overall authorization for Bamyan rose from 706 to 756
positions, and COP Ewaz remains empowered to deploy his force within
the province as needed.

12. (SBU) The Kuchi (Afghan, Pashtun nomads) migration to the Hazara
areas of Wardak's Behsood district and southern Bamyan is a
continuing concern. Provincial officials deem the central
government's efforts to resolve the conflict to be overly
politicized, with political parties choosing sides based on
electoral calculations. Despite some deep wounds from previous
Kuchi atrocities, the Hazara maintain a nuanced view of the Kuchi.
They acknowledge some have legitimate land rights in Bamyan, but
they insist Kuchi landowners take up residence on the land and
become members of the community. They also insist the pasture lands
owned by Kuchi should only be used by the owners and their families,
not offered as open grazing land to all Kuchi, a practice which
exhausts the pasture lands. The Hazara objection to the large
groups of armed Kuchi stems from their prior experiences of the
Kuchi acting as a proxy for the Pashtun and Taliban penetration into
Hazarajat. Fighting has already begun between heavily armed Kuchi
and Hazara in the Behsood districts of Wardak province bordering
Bamyan, but has not spread into adjacent provinces.

WOOD

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