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Cablegate: Prt/Gardez Security Without Government

VZCZCXRO7928
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #2703/01 1650443
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140443Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0821
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//JF/UNMA//
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J3//
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2606
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2760
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6042
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1431

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 002703

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/FO (DAS GASTRIGHT), SA/A, S/CR, SA/PAB,
S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN, KAMEND
OSD FOR BREZINSKI
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD
REL NATO/AU/NZ/ISAF

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER AF
SUBJECT: PRT/GARDEZ SECURITY WITHOUT GOVERNMENT
CONTROL: VISIT TO A REMOT DISTRICT IN LOGAR PROVINCE

KABUL 00002703 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: PRT Gardez recently visited the
remote Logar district of Azra, which borders
Pakistan, to secure and remove an arms cache handed
over to the DIAG program. ANP control is limited to
the physical bounds of the station itself and the
communitys security is completely controlled by the
tribal structure. This type of isolated and
independent community, which can be found throughout
the southeast region of Afghanistan, is an example
of a place where the authority of the Government of
Afghanistan (GoA) does not currently exist, but
traditional structures are maintaining a peaceful
environment. In the absence of a strong government
presence, this is also the type of border community
that might serve as a conduit for the insurgency.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) Last month, PRT Gardez and maneuver
battalion embarked on a four-hour drive through
stream beds and winding narrow mountainous roads for
an overnight mission to the Logar district of Azra
to secure and remove an arms cache surrendered to
the DIAG (Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups)
program, which was stored at the district ANP
station. Azra is the most remote district in Logar
Province and the only Logar district bordering
Pakistan. The district was once part of Loya Paktia
(the former province consisting of present Paktia,
Paktika and Khost provinces). It retains strong
tribal structures and in the past was known as a
smugglers alley.

3. (SBU) The PRT was hosted by the district ANP
station, located in the center of the small village
nestled in a narrow valley. When the convoy arrived
at the station, about 20 ANP officers were standing
at attention in formation in uniforms clearly worn
for the first timestill dust-free and creased from
packagingfor the benefit of the visiting Americans.
PRToff used the opportunity of the visit to discuss
the security situation and the condition of the ANP.
It quickly became apparent that ANP control is
limited to the physical bounds of the station
on
itself. The ANP reported that they had 42 police
on payroll and one Russian jeep to patrol the
district. They complained that they have no Afghan
Border Police (ABP) stationed along the Pakistan
border, which left the ANP district station
responsible for securing the border. Without
vehicles, ammunition, or issued weapons heavier than
a Kalashnikov, they claimed they were incapable of
stopping outsiders from coming across the border.
They have no means to communicate with the ANP
headquarters in Pul-e Alam. Additionally, they told
us that the Czech AK 47 rifles that they were issued
were unreliable (a common complaint among ANP in
Paktia and Logar Provinces).

4. (SBU) Still, the ANP boasted there were no
recorded security incidents and noted the tribes
were an essential partner in this success. After
further probing, the police admitted that almost all
problems in the district were handled through
tribal shuras. The tribes maintain security through

KABUL 00002703 002.2 OF 003


h
the arbakai system (the shura selects and arms
members of the community to protect tribal
resources; it was in decline in the last century,
but was revived by the Soviets to provide protection
against the mujahadeen). Governor Taniwal in Paktia
province is currently using this system to
supplement the ANP. He is paying the tribes
approximately USD40 per month per armed arbakai, who
are usually embedded in the district ANP stations.
In contrast to Paktia province, however, the arbakai
in Logar are securing the area as part of their
traditional tribal duty and not for pay. Arbakai
coordination there with the ANP is also less evident
than in Paktia. In fact, Governor Hashimi seemed
surprised when PRToff noted that there were arbakai
in the district and the ANP chief and his deputy did
not address PRToffs questions about the cooperation
between the arbakai and ANP in Azra, noting it is a
special case.

5. (SBU) The partnership between the ANP and the
e
tribes (four sub-tribes of the Ahmadzai tribe) is
not limited to the use of the arbakai. The people
rely on tribal shuras for conflict resolution. Even
when an issue is brought to the attention of the
police, in most cases, at the insistence of the
tribes, the police turn the issue over to the shura
for internal dispute resolution through Pashtunwali,
the tribal code. When PRToff asked for an example
of issues that are handled through the rule of law,
the police mentioned a land dispute between two sub-
tribes that was submitted to Pul-e Alam, the
provincial capital, for arbitration.

6. (SBU) The sense of tribal control was reinforced
when PRToff and a U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer
met with a tribal shura. As soon as the verses from
the Quran were recited to open the meeting, the
elder sitting front-and-center explained that Azra
had not had a single security incident, but this was
not due to the GOA or ANP. He said the ANP were
nothing - only the tribes provide security for the
e
area. The tribal shura also complained that while
they had kept security in the district, the ANP had
discouraged NGOs from working. The ANP publicly
challenged that assertion, but it was clear that the
ANP did not feel they could guarantee the safety of
NGOs.

8. (SBU) Comment: Strong tribal structures in
southeast Afghanistan, like those in Azra, tend to
result from geographic isolation. Because of Azras
remote location, the tribes there are independent
and self-sufficient. For example, the community has
year-round water supply through mountain runoff,
which also provides them with electricity created by
a micro-hydro plant at least partially paid for by
the community. This isolation and independence from
government services also make it more difficult for
GOA security and governance structures to extend
their reach into these areas. At this time, the
tribes are able to maintain peace among themselves

KABUL 00002703 003.2 OF 003


and probably protect the ANP station, rather than
the other way around. Without government influence,
however, this area, once known as a smugglers
alley. could be a conduit for the insurgency. PRT
Gardez is trying to address the ANP communication
issues and other ways to extend GOA reach into the
community. End Comment.

NEUMANN

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