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Cablegate: The Late Nuristan Governor's Unfinished Agenda

VZCZCXRO3066
PP RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2628/01 2710526
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270526Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5642
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 002628

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS USAID FOR ASIA/SCAA
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR WILKES
CENTCOM FOR CG CSTC-A, CG CJTF-101 POLAD

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV AF

SUBJECT: The Late Nuristan Governor's Unfinished Agenda

(A) KABUL 2348, (B) KABUL 1828

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Nuristan Governor Hazrat Din was killed in a car accident on
September 5, only two months after he assumed office (see reftel A).
Days before his death, Hazrat Din told the PRT's Integrated Command
Group (PICG) that security in the eastern districts of Nuristan was
his chief concern. He wanted to combine provincial government
authority with local traditional institutions (shuras) to improve
security (see reftel B). Hazrat Din was frustrated during the past
month over the GIRoA's Independent Directorate of Local Governance's
(IDLG) lack of political and financial support for his efforts. He
told the PICG that on September 3, he would ask the IDLG to replace
Deputy Governor Haji Haleem and two district administrators. Haleem
is currently the acting governor in the interim until a new governor
is announced.

----------------------------
Security in Eastern Nuristan
----------------------------

2. Over the past month, Hazrat Din stressed during several meetings
with the PICG that provincial security was his chief priority for
Nuristan. Hazrat Din was particularly concerned about the eastern
districts of Kamdesh, Waygal, and Bargi Matal. The governor made
some limited progress on his vision for local governance (reftel A)
by establishing a Waygal shura and continuing support for the
Kamdesh one-hundred man security shura, but told the PICG that he
was unable to attract sufficient financial support from IDLG for the
existing bodies or for the creation of additional district shuras.
The governor asserted that IDLG's slow response to the provincial
government's request for assistance in Nuristan calls into question
IDLG's commitment to making the province a priority despite the
deteriorating security situation in the East.

3. On August 23 during a meeting with N2KL Brigade Commander,
Colonel Spiszer, the late governor requested additional support from
Coalition Forces (CF) in Bargi Matal. COL Spiszer agreed to
continue providing ammunition and supplies through the winter to
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) who reportedly have been
successful at fighting back insurgents attempting to cross into
Bargi Matal from Pakistan and Kamdesh. The governor explained that
despite the successes, access to Bargi Matal through Kamdesh is
still very difficult, with the road blocked by insurgents. (NOTE:
CF delivered ammunition and additional supplies as recently as
September 6.)

4. Hazrat Din described the security situation in Waygal as
improved, noting that the district shura had made progress but that
development was badly needed. However, he said that Coalition
forces remain unwelcome in the province. The governor highlighted
the U.S. military's July 4 airstrike targeting insurgents in
response to a mortar attack on a U.S. military base as a turning
point in Waygal, citing civilian casualties as the catalyst for
anti-CF sentiment in the district. The governor had committed
himself to working further with the Waygal shura but insisted that
immediate IDLG support was critical. While the late governor
described the situation as improved -- there were no anti-CF attacks
in Waygal since CF are not present - there have been attacks
originating in Waygal that run contrary to security promises made by
the district shura.

5. According to Hazrat Din, Kamdesh was the most challenging
security problem, according to Hazrat Din. He cited a secure
Kamdesh as vital to solving security problems in the rest of the
province, noting that security in Waygal is directly affected by
insurgents coming from Pakistan through Kamdesh. The governor had
planned to continue work with the one-hundred man security shura,
but stressed that without more IDLG (or CF) support the shura's
progress will continue to be minimal. Acting Governor Haji Haleem
worked extensively with the Kamdesh security shura but was largely
ineffective. His intervention is unlikely to bring additional
results.

------------------------------------
Changes in the Provincial Government

KABUL 00002628 002 OF 002


------------------------------------

6. Governor Hazrat Din stressed to the PICG several times during the
past two months that the Deputy Governor was undermining his
authority and quietly supporting the return of former Governor
Tamim, and that Haleem was responsible for increasing ethnic
tensions in the region by expelling fifty-seven Pashtun police from
Parun. Hazrat Din told the PRT on September 1 that on September 3
he planne to ask IDLG Director Popal to replace Haleem. Hazrat Din
said he was considering Jamal Hudi, an MFA official originally from
Bargi Matal for the job. Haleem, a member of the dominant
Nuristani Kata tribe, is well connected both in Afghanistan and
Pakistan as a former Hizb-I Islami Gulbudden (HIG) commander.
Traditionally, the Kata have held the key leadership positions in
Nuristan. Hazrat Din, a member of the minority Wamai tribe, was
likely to appoint another Kata official in order to avoid potential
feelings of disenfranchisement from that community.

7. Hazrat Din informed the PICG that he would ask Popal to also
replace the district governors for Waygal (Zia Rahman) and Kamdesh
(Anayatullah), both of whom he judged as completely ineffective and
incapable of working with local shuras. During the PRT's September
1-2 visit to Parun, several members of the governor's staff
indicated that they were considering resigning. They cited the
governor's conservatism as the key reason, noting that he insisted
on directing the religious practices of is staff. Separately, the
governor told the PCG that he intended to replace several members
of the staff due to a lack of competence. The late governor's staff
was hired by former Governor Tamim, and many are closely allied with
the Deputy Governor. Hazrat Din's death may mean that the staff
will stay on to assist Haleem during his time as acting governor.

-------
Comment
-------

8. Hazrat Din was committed to his position and the people of
Nuristan. In addition to a keen understanding of the complex
reality of Nuristani security and politics, a new governor will need
to accomplish two key tasks in order to succeed: (1) effectively
lobby the IDLG for resources and (2) carefully balance provincial
government authority with traditional local institutions. Hazrat
Din's vision for district shuras may not survive the succession, but
a new governor will need to address the key issues that led Hazrat
Din to adopt that model.

9. The PICG met with Hazrat Din six times between August 22 and
September 3. This cable provides the key elements drawn from those
conversations, as well as from meetings with other local government
officials.

DELL

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