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Cablegate: Idlg Governor's Advisors Program in Uruzgan: A Work In

VZCZCXRO3479
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2937/01 3100948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050948Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6066
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 0704
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 002937

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
THE HAGUE PASS TO POL
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 ETRD EFIN AF

SUBJECT: IDLG GOVERNOR'S ADVISORS PROGRAM IN URUZGAN: A WORK IN
PROGRESS

REF: KABUL 2641

1. (SBU) Summary: The Independent Directorate of Local Governance
(IDLG) dispatched nine advisors to Uruzgan Province in a direct
response to Governor Hamdam's call for help as he undertook to
coordinate the work of insubordinate and unqualified department
directors. The advisors are part of an IDLG provincial government
capacity building program that was initiated in early 2008 in ten
provinces. The advisors, who are all equipped with impressive
resumes, have given Hamdam a clearer picture of the challenges
facing each department. However, they lack training on the role of
an advisor and generally have been unable to cultivate productive
relationships with the directors. The IDLG advisors program in
Uruzgan could be strengthened by developing a robust training
program for advisors, focusing the initial efforts of advisors on
building the capacity of the departments (in an effort to earn their
trust), and establishing closer ties between the IDLG advisors and
the USAID-funded technical advisors assigned to the departments.
End Summary.

IDLG Advisors Deployed to Uruzgan
---------------------------------

2. (SBU) Shortly after Assadullah Hamdam became Governor of Uruzgan
in September 2007, he requested that the newly created Independent
Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) send him a team of subject
matter experts to expand his capacity to manage the provincial
departments. Hamdam, who is from Wardak Province, and a
highly-educated professional by Afghan standards, was immediately
treated as an outsider by the department directors and thus given
little access to the inner workings of the departments (reftel).
The directors, who generally possess little to no education and were
selected more for tribal connections than competency, jealously
protected their departments from the Governor's involvement. Hamdam
hoped that a large group of competent advisors would help to level
the playing field.

3. (SBU) Following a rigorous selection process, the IDLG
dispatched nine IDLG advisors and two computer administrators over
the last ten months. Hamdam has requested an additional eight
advisors. The IDLG advisors have been tasked to: deepen the
governor's understanding on the key challenges facing each
department, extend the governor's reach and influence over the
directors, and improve coordination among the departments and
between the departments and the governor's office. IDLG Deputy
Director Karimi recently told PRTOFF that IDLG advisors were sent to
nine other provinces and stressed that the IDLG was committed to
meeting the needs of the governors. (The Dutch Embassy funds the
IDLG Advisors Program in Uruzgan through the Asia Foundation.)

Advisors Have Helped Uruzgan Governor...
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The advisors have provided Hamdam a better understanding
of the day-to-day activities of the departments through the
preparation of daily and weekly reports. In an effort to raise the
level of financial accountability to the Governor, the advisors
provide counsel to Hamdam on the approval of directors' requests for
the use of government funds. Before Hamdam signs off on the
disbursement, the appropriate advisor verifies that the disbursement
is in general accordance with the needs of the department and,
afterwards, attempts to monitor the impact of the disbursement.
Most importantly, the advisors have increased the capacity of the
departments. The advisors, who are typically under 35 years old,
highly-educated, and have years of professional experience in large,
functioning organizations, have helped the directors and their staff
meet the increasingly high expectations of their respective
ministries in Kabul.

...But They Need Help Themselves
--------------------------------

5. (SBU) The IDLG advisors have yet to earn the full confidence of
Hamdam, and most departments remain reluctant to develop closer
relationships with them. None of the advisors received training on

KABUL 00002937 002 OF 002


the specific roles and responsibilities of an IDLG advisor,
particularly in the field of proposing, assessing, and monitoring
projects. Moreover, many of the advisors lack the social tact and
diplomacy to cultivate productive relationships in their respective
departments. The Governor told a visiting delegation of IDLG/Asia
Foundation staff that his IDLG advisors were heavy on competency and
light on "people skills;" thus, the Governor's relationships with
most directors remained distant, if not adversarial. The directors
complained to PRTOFF that the advisors treated the directors as
subordinates, "demanding" reports and communicating taskings
allegedly on behalf of the Governor.

Steps to Strengthen IDLG Advisors Program
-----------------------------------------

6. (SBU) After extensive conversations with Hamdam, the IDLG
advisors, the directors, and a review of the IDLG/Asia Foundation's
informal trip report, there is general agreement on the following
suggested changes to the IDLG advisors program:

-- Implement a training program. Future advisors dispatched to
Uruzgan should participate in a mandatory training course on the
specific responsibilities, expectations, and the "do's and don'ts"
of an IDLG advisor. Current advisors should be sent back to Kabul
for similar training.

-- Focus on building capacity of departments. Given the dearth of
qualified personnel in the departments, directors have repeatedly
expressed their readiness to receive technical assistance from the
Governor's advisors, as long as they respect the position of the
director.

-- Strengthen ties with USAID-funded technical advisors. Through
USAID's Local Governance and Community Development (LGCD) program,
technical advisors have been assigned to seven departments, and
three more departments will be assigned technical advisors in the
coming months. Establishing linkages with the IDLG advisors would
give the technical advisors greater insight into the needs and
demands of the Governor, and in turn, the IDLG advisors would obtain
a clearer picture of the strengths and challenges in each
department.

-- Involve IDLG advisors in Governor's meetings. Hamdam rarely
invites his advisors to his meetings with the directors, and as a
result, the advisors are often unaware of the causes of the friction
between the Governor and his directors and unable to help the
Governor repair the relationships. PRTOff has asked Hamdam to
consider involving his advisors in more meetings, and the Governor
has started to include his chief advisor. Once Hamdam determines
that his other advisors are sufficiently mature in their roles as
counsel, he will likely invite them to more meetings.

WOOD

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