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Cablegate: Declining Security Might Spell the End to Herat Governor's

VZCZCXRO5687
RR RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #3027/01 3251311
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201311Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6187
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5220
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 03 KABUL 003027

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
ROME 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: DECLINING SECURITY MIGHT SPELL THE END TO HERAT GOVERNOR'S
TENURE

1. (U) Summary: Following two years of declining security and
repeated kidnappings in and around the city of Herat, Governor
Anwari's days may be numbered. Responding to citizens' demands and
after the President's receipt of a report from a high-level
investigating delegation from Kabul, the Ministry of Interior has
sacked 10 district police chiefs and replaced the provincial police
chief, border police chief and other senior police officials. The
head of the provincial office of the National Directorate for
Security (NDS) has also been transferred. For his part, the
Governor has taken a number of actions to beef up security,
including instituting well-publicized nocturnal visits to police
posts, ordering more visible police patrolling and asking Kabul for
2200 more police. The Governor believes that former Mujahideen
leader and governor and current Minister of Energy and Water Ismail
Khan's supporters are organizing protests and strikes but
acknowledges that kidnappings are a real problem. According to
sources within the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, the
search has begun for a replacement for Anwari. End Summary.
PUBLIC CONCERN GROWS OVER DECLINING SECURITY

2. (SBU) The first and foremost security-related concern expressed
by Herat citizens is the rash of kidnappings and threats of
kidnapping of wealthy (and some not so wealthy) Heratis and their
family members. Local law enforcement authorities are perceived to
be incapable of stopping these at best and at aiding and abetting
them with inside information or by turning a blind eye at worst.
Whether vocally protesting or not, many Heratis are exasperated with
the declining security situation, most especially the threat of
kidnapping. Well-placed observers estimate there has been one
prominent reported kidnapping a week for the past two years, and
many more go unreported because families perceive the police are
part of the problem. Recent high-profile kidnappings and kidnapping
attempts have led to several public protests.

3. (U) The provincial government has taken some recent steps in
response, visible and not so visible to the local population.
There are more, and more active, police checkpoints around the city,
especially on roads leading to major commercial areas and in and out
of the city. These are being manned not just by the police but also
by the Border Police and Force 119 (a separate Ministry of Interior
force with a special focus on combating kidnapping), who are
considered more trustworthy and capable than the ANP in Herat. The
Governor's several incognito nocturnal tours of police posts were
featured on the local TV evening news, and he himself later
mentioned them at press conferences. He also asked Kabul for 2200
additional police for Herat province.

KABUL REACTS

4. SBU) Responding to one of the protesters' (and Herati MPs')
demands, on October 19 President Karzai appointed a delegation of
senior Kabul-based officials, led by a Deputy Minister of Interior.
It traveled to Herat, discussed the security situation with a wide
range of civil society groups and govrnment officials and reported
back to him. According to one member of the delegation, the group
called for several changes in senior provincial leaders. Karzai met
with Herati MPs on November 2 and reportedly told them he was going
to replace 16 officials, including the Governor, as one of a number
of steps to deal with Herat's security problems. As a result of
these commitments, the MPs ended their boycott of Parliament on 17
November. This was the third such Kabul delegation in the past year
to troubleshoot security problems. One came in 2007 led by the
former Interior Minister. Another in March 2008
investigated/mediated and ended a three-day strike by doctors and
health workers protesting the kidnapping of the son of a prominent
doctor.

5. (U) Subsequent to Karzai's meeting with the Herati MPs, Kabul
has replaced several of the province's top security and law
enforcement officials. Ten district police chiefs, eight in Herat
city and in the two border police districts of Islam Qal'a and
Torghundi, were sacked on November 3. Brigadier General Hasham was
appointed three days later as the new NDS Chief for Herat. And on
November 12 the appointment of a new provincial police chief,
Ismatullah Alizai, along with several other senior police officials,

KABUL 00003027 002 OF 003


was announced.

6. (SBU) Also, the Governor told the U.S. Poloff working at the
Provincial Reconstruction Team that, in response to his request for
2200 additional police for the province, Kabul was sending 300 more
police to be deployed "temporarily" in the city of Herat.

THE VIEW FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

7. (SBU) At a recent meeting with PRTOFF, Governor Anwari
acknowledged kidnappings are a problem, citing by name the case of
prominent money changer Haji Jalil. (Comment: Last month this
well-known local was roughed up, but not kidnapped, when he resisted
being abducted. His brother, however, was kidnapped, and one of
their armed bodyguards was killed near the Mayor's Office. The
brother was subsequently released, reportedly after the family paid
300,000 dollars in ransom). That case unleashed public protests and
a merchants' strike. The Provincial Council also suspended its
meetings for several weeks in solidarity with the demands of the
protesters for changes in senior provincial leadership and to put
pressure on Kabul to make such changes. Anwari believes supporters
of former governor (and current Minister of Energy and Water) Ismail
Khan are behind many of the problems in the security arena and are
responsible for organizing protests and strikes.

8. (SBU) Asked about reports of clashes and insecurity in a number
of outlying districts, the Governor said these were isolated,
localized clashes, some also involving supporters of the former
governor. He feared, however, that the troublemakers in these
districts might start communicating with each other, collaborating,
joining forces, including with Ghulam Yahya Siyashwani (AKA Akbari),
who operates near Herat. He did not see any evidence of this
happening yet, but this remains a concern.

9. (SBU) The Governor places priority on bringing to justice Ghulam
Yahya, the person he believes to be responsible for some of the
kidnappings and much of the security problems in Herat city and its
immediate environs. He sees, for example, Ghulam Yahya as likely to
be behind the October 13 kidnappings of three RC/West local base
employees, two Afghan and one Indian national. He suggested ISAF or
a Special Forces unit should go after Ghulam Yahya, given the fear
of the ANA in Herat of doing so. There have been attempts in the
past to arrest Ghulam Yahya but all have failed, some say because
sources within the police have tipped him off. (Comment: Ghulam
Yahya is believed by some not to be a real insurgent at all but
rather an ally of Ismael Khan. As such, so goes the theory, he is
making trouble via occasional kidnappings and calibrated, nonlethal
shelling of the Regional Training Center (RTC), the UNAMA compound,
the airport and the RC/West base to undermine the Governor and ISAF
and to feed the desire for the return of Ismail Khan and/or his
supporters to key positions in the provincial government.)

10. (SBU) At no time during the almost hour-long meeting with
PRTOFF did the Governor make any direct reference to protestors'
demand for his replacement. However, his several references to
former supporters of Ismail Khan and one direct mention of the
Minister suggest he is well aware of efforts to unseat him.

GOVERNOR ANWARI'S FUTURE

11. (SBU) The Governor's future remains uncertain, to say the
least. Sources at the IDLG confirm that they have begun the search
for a replacement. Two names keep surfacing: Former Kandahar
Governor Khaled and Ismail Khan. However, many influential Heratis,
including some MPs from Herat, the elected Provincial Council and
the ad hoc Herat strike committee, have signaled their staunch
opposition to Khaled, a Kandahari Pashtun. As for Ismail Khan, he
is rumored to be asking for super-governor status and authority over
not just Herat province but several neighboring provinces in western
Afghanistan as well, something that would presumably be very
difficult for Karzai to accept. Repeated follow-up inquiries,
however, suggest no irrevocable action has yet been taken.

12. (SBU) Governor Anwari, rumored off and on for the past two
years to be on his way out, is a survivor and is now one of the

KABUL 00003027 003 OF 003


longest serving governors in Afghanistan, at three plus years.
President Karzai, particularly as the 2009 election approaches,
could decide to keep the Governor, reportedly a Karzai election
supporter, in place to work with the new security/law enforcement
team just appointed. On the other hand, the President's fairly
recent appointment of two new governors with military backgrounds
(Kandahar and Logar) suggests security is an increasing
preoccupation. If kidnappings do not decline and security does not
improve after the new security/law enforcement senior appointments,
Karzai may feel he has no choice but to act.
WOOD

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