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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 005039

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.

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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