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Cablegate: Governors of Georgia, Kansas, and Mississippi Meet

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS KABUL 005034

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR SA/FO AMBASSADOR QUINN, SA/CT AND SA/A
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN, KAMEND
CENTCOM FOR POLAD, CG CFA-A, CG CJTF-76

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SNAR AF
SUBJECT: GOVERNORS OF GEORGIA, KANSAS, AND MISSISSIPPI MEET
WITH PRESIDENT KARZAI

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: IN A MEETING WITH THE GOVERNORS OF
GEORGIA, KANSAS AND MISSISSIPPI AND GENERAL BLUM, KARZAI
WAS IN A GENIAL MOOD, HIGHLIGHTING PROGRESS ON COUNTER
NARCOTICS, BUT PRESSING FOR CONTINUED INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
TO ENSURE SUCCESS. HE PRAISED THE AFGHAN PEOPLE'S
COMMITMENT TO DEMOCRACY AS EVIDENCED BY THE PEACEFUL
ELECTIONS, WHILE MUSING ON THE EVILS OF TOO MUCH CENTRAL
GOVERNMENT AND THE NEED TO IMPROVE HIS OWN GOVERNANCE. END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) ON NOVEMBER 26, GEORGIA GOVERNOR BARBOUR OF
GEORGIA, KANSAS GOVERNOR SIBELIUS, MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR
PERDUE AND GENERAL BLUM CALLED ON PRESIDENT KARZAI.
INITIALLY, KARZAI DISCUSSED HIS TRAVELS AROUND THE UNITED
STATES AND HIS IMPRESSIONS OF VARIOUS REGIONS. GOVERNOR
SIBELIUS EXPLAINED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THEIR MISSION WAS TO
VISIT THEIR STATES' TROOPS, STATIONED IN QATAR, KUWAIT,
IRAQ, AND BAGRAM, NOTING THAT ALL THE SOLDIERS THEY SPOKE
WITH HAD BEEN VERY POSITIVE ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE IN
AFGHANISTAN AND THE UTILITY OF THEIR PRESENCE.

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3. (SBU) IN RESPONSE TO A QUESTION ABOUT HOW AFGHANISTAN
HAD PROGRESSED SINCE THE FALL OF THE TALIBAN, KARZAI
COMPARED THE AFGHANISTAN OF FOUR YEARS AGO TO A "SAD, BLACK
AND WHITE MOVIE," WHICH HAS NOW MOVED INTO "COLOR AND
HOPEFULNESS." HE DESCRIBED THE POSITIVE ATTITUDES AND
IMPROVED HEALTH OF GROUPS OF TEACHERS HE HAD SPOKEN WITH
RECENTLY, COMPARED WITH THOSE HE MET WITH IN 2001. THEY
HAVE MUCH BETTER ATTITUDES AND GENERALLY BETTER HEALTH.
OTHER SIGNS OF NORMALIZATION ARE THE PRESENCE OF FIVE
TELEVISION CHANNELS (ONE PUBLIC, FOUR PRIVATE) FEATURING
PROGRAMS SUCH AS MUSICAL CONTESTS. HE THANKED THE
GOVERNORS FOR U.S. SUPPORT, EMPHASIZING THAT NONE OF THESE
ACHIEVEMENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT IT. "WE HAVE
A GOOD ARMY AND POLICE FORCE, A WELL-FUNCTIONING
BUREAUCRACY, BUT WE STILL HAVE TO FIGHT TERRORISM ALONG OUR
BORDERS," HE CONCLUDED.

4. (SBU) KARZAI CITED A NEW USG-LED SURVEY SHOWED A 48
PERCENT REDUCTION IN LAND UNDER POPPY CULTIVATION,
COMPARING IT TO AN EARLIER UN REPORT WHICH HAD SAID LAND
UNDER CULTIVATION HAD BEEN REDUCED BY 21 PERCENT.
(COMMENT; INL CONSIDERS THIS PARTICULAR SURVEY TO HAVE
STARTED WITH A VERY HIGH BASE FIGURE THE PREVIOUS YEAR.
THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF HECTARES UNDER CULTIVATION CITED IN
BOTH SURVEYS DID NOT VARY GREATLY. END COMMENT) HE SAID
THE PROVINCE OF GHAZNI HAD EARNED MORE FROM POTATOES THAT
FROM OPIUM THIS YEAR AND THAT IN 2005 50,000 FAMILIES HAD
REFRAINED FROM PLANTING POPPY. THE PRESIDENT MADE A PLEA
FOR SUSTAINED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE, WITHOUT WHICH THE
CN EFFORT WOULD NOT BE SUCCESSFUL. IN RESPONSE TO A
QUESTION FROM GOVERNOR PERDUE ABOUT THE ADEQUACY OF WATER,
KARZAI DISCUSSED THE EFFECTS OF THE SEVEN-YEAR DROUGHT AND
DESTRUCTION OF THE IRRIGATION SYSTEM, AND MENTIONED THAT HE
WOULD RAISE THE SUBJECT OF DAMS AT THE LONDON CONFERENCE.

5. (SBU) KARZAI REFERRED WITH PRIDE TO THE SUCCESSFUL
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS, NOTING THAT, IN SPITE OF ALL THE
LOSERS (5,800 CANDIDATES FOR ONLY 600-PLUS SEATS) WHO MIGHT
HAVE BEEN TEMPTED TO CREATE PROBLEMS, THERE WAS LITTLE
DISRUPTION. TWENTY-EIGHT PERCENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARIANS
WERE WOMEN, SOME ELECTED ON THEIR MERITS "THE AFGHAN
PEOPLE ARE OUR STRONGEST PARTNER; WHETHER THE AFGHAN
GOVERNMENT WILL BE IS A GOOD QUESTION," HE MUSED, NOTING
THAT HE WAS NOT A FAN OF BIG GOVERNMENT, WHICH HE
CONSIDERED TO BE THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION. "ALL YOU
NEED IS A FOREIGN MINISTER AND A FINANCE MINISTER," HE
JOKED.
NEUMANN

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