Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Search

 

Cablegate: Prt/Farah: Sexual Politics Overshadow As

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 005186

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SA/FO, SA/A, S/CT, EUR/RPM
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN, KAMEND
CENTCOM FOR POLAD, CG CFA-A, CG CJTF-76

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AF
SUBJECT: PRT/FARAH: SEXUAL POLITICS OVERSHADOW AS
PROVINCIAL COUNCILORS SWORN IN

1. (SBU) Summary: Five men and three women were sworn in
as Provincial Councilors in Farah Province November 10.
Gender division was overcome with the decision to elect a
woman to the Vice Chairperson position. Aside from a
momentary gaffe from Governor Wasefi as he tried to make
the selections himself, the Councils leadership selection
went smoothly. End Summary.

---------------
The Swearing In
---------------

2. (SBU) Amidst sprays of plastic flowers and the strains
of the national anthem played on a hand-held cassette
player, eight of nine Provincial Council members were
proudly sworn in November 10 in Farah Province. After
verses from the Koran were sung by a local mullah, three
women and five men swore the oath of office at the
Governors compound. Governor Wasefi, pistol at his side,
orated the introduction including calls for righteousness
and refraining from poppy cultivation. President Karzais
message lauding the return to democracy and the wish for
positive relations between governed and governors was well
received. JEMB, UNAMA and media representatives were
present; however, ranking government officials and family
members were noticeably lacking in this well publicized
event.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

3. (SBU) Notably absent was the Council member elected by
the district of Purchaman in northern Farah Province, a
a
two-day journey from Farah City. He did not participate in
the November 12 election of the Meshrano Jerga and has not
been seen in the city since his election.

-----------------
Politicians Speak
-----------------

4. (SBU) Gholam Faroq Khan Farah, of Bala Baluk District,
spoke of his loyalty to the people he will to represent and
to the government of Afghanistan. He promised to build a
positive coalition within the governing body to effect
progress for his constituents. Nafasgul Kiedmat, one of
the three female Council members, spoke of the need for the
group to choose honest, educated people to lead. She
called for actors, not speakers, and outlined her platform
of security, womens rights, calling for steps to be taken
against warlords and corruption.

--------------------
The Governors Gaffe
--------------------

5. (SBU) After these speeches, the Governor tried to
dismiss the proceedings, saying that the group had no
further business for the day. He was quickly reminded by
y
the PRT Poloff that the Council had yet to decide upon
their chairperson, vice chairperson or secretary. Governor
Wasefi announced that he would choose the chairperson who
would, in turn, choose the other officials. Poloff gently
explained that idea was contrary to JEMB dictates and the
National Provisional Election Officer (NPEO) could outline
the official selection process, to which the governor
deferred.

----------------
Sexual Politics
----------------

6. (SBU) After the NEPOs explanation, members retreated
to an adjoining room to confer and vote. A source inside
the group divulged that they were initially divided along
gender lines, but quickly developed the art of coalition
building. The final section was made after more than an
hour of discussions: Chairperson: Haji Abdul Basir from
Khutmeliq, Farah District. Vice Chairperson: Balquis
Roshan, (female) Farah City, Farah District. Secretary:
Ziaudin (individual has no other name), Shewan City, Bala
Boluk District.

--------
Progress
--------

7. (SBU) Comment: Governor Wasefi made great progress in
his acceptance of the Provincial Council since Poloff began
meeting regularly with him in early October. As late as
November 1, when Poloff asked Wasefi when he expected to
host the Provincial Council meeting, he replied, I dont
know and I dont care. He has demonstrated a propensity
to collect power by marginalizing groups he sees as
threatening, problematic, or difficult to control. A
recent example was his pointed lack of inclusion of mullahs
at a counter-narcotics shura Nov 2. His hard-line stances
appear to be softening, however; at more recent CN shuras
on November 29 and December 15, mullahs were included and
invited to speak.

8. (SBU) Comment continued: The sexual division in the
voting for council leadership positions was not unexpected
in a society still used to treating women as second-class
citizens. Governor Wasefi remarked to the female PRT
PRT
Poloff during a break that the men carry women on their
shoulders, implying that women were incapable of holding
power by themselves. The fact that the men relinquished
even one of the leadership positions was a positive step
towards working together.

9. (SBU) Comment continued: Gender politics continues to
be an undercurrent in Farah politics. Subsequent meetings
with the three female officials during November and
December were heavy with anti-male comments demonstrating
their continued bullying. Poloff counseled the women to
focus on ideas rather than gender. Male council member
Dadiki met reluctantly Nov 28 with Poloff shielding his
face with his hand so as not to acknowledge her, directing
his attention only to the male interpreter. After an hour
of discussion he allowed the hand to drop and two hours
later he made eye-contact and spoke directly with Poloff.
Change will come to Farah, if slowly. End Comment.


NEUMANN

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
World Headlines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.