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Cablegate: Isaf Stability Operation in Farah to Support

VZCZCXRO7206
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #2972/01 1840309
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030309Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1149
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//JF/UNMA// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J3// PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2652
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2796
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 6105
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 1477

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 002972

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS, SA/PB, S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR BREZINSKI
CENTCOM FOR CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PTER NATO AF
SUBJECT: ISAF STABILITY OPERATION IN FARAH TO SUPPORT
MOUNTAIN THRUST


KABUL 00002972 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary: ISAF has begun a stability
operation in Farah province to mitigate potential
affects of Operation Mountain Thrust. Known as
Operation Turtle, the activity consists of three
elements: security, engagement, and development.
On the security side, ISAF has begun increasing its
ground assets in Farah as well as targeting
intelligence, air, and medical assets to assist.
Engagement is designed to improve the outreach
capability of the provincial government.
Development will widen the focus of aid projects to
areas where there is a perception of insecurity.
ISAF will focus its projects on roads, power, and
irrigation, in coordination with USAID and other
members of the aid community. ISAF has also
expressed a willingness to support the Afghan
National Police in Farah with additional equipment,
as necessary. Overall, Operation Turtle is a very
positive indication of ISAF IX,s more activist
approach to stability operations in Afghanistan,
although long-term stability will depend on the
provincial government and ANP,s ability to take on
these duties. End summary.

2. (SBU) ISAF Senior staff briefed the diplomatic
community on June 22 on recent increased security
activity in Farah province, known as Operation
Turtle. In attendance were representatives, most at
the ambassadorial level, of Spain, Canada,
Lithuania, Japan, German, Netherlands, Denmark, EU,
UNAMA, and U.S. (polmiloff). UK, France, and Italy
were also expected but did not attend.

3. (SBU) The unclassified ISAF brief began with the
perception of a "security dip" in Farah, due to the
increase in security incidents since last year - 32
in the first half of 2006, compared to 17 for all of
2005. Most of the incidents were sporadic small
arms fire and IEDs - there have not been any
organized attacks in large numbers, nor are these
predicted, the briefer said. (PRT Comment: based on
local security assessments, PRT anticipates that
larger-scale attacks may occur in the near future.
End comment.)

4. (SBU) However, ISAF expects that as Operation
Mountain Thrust cleans out areas in northern Helmand
and western Uruzgan, there will be some influx of
insurgents from the north and east into the ISAF
area of operation, in particular Farah. Indeed,
according to the briefer they are already starting
to see this influx. Moreover, there has also been
an increase in insurgents in Farah coming north from
Nimroz, particularly into Bela Balouk, Gulistan, and
Khak-es-fed districts.

5. (SBU) To carry out this security operation, ISAF
forces will partner with the ANA 207 Corps based in
Herat. To date, this is the largest and most
coordinated activity of its kind to be undertaken by
ISAF since it began operations.

Operation Turtle Main Elements
------------------------------

6. (SBU) The operation has three elements:

KABUL 00002972 002.2 OF 003


Security, engagement, and development.

- Security: The main effort is to facilitate
reconstruction and development to actively assist
the further reach of GOA authority in Farah
province. It consists of reinforcing Farah province
and the Shindand district of Herat with theater
assets to include extra troops, intelligence assets,
air power, and medical assets. ISAF is particularly
concerned to protect the ring road, and to that end
has reinforced the area with extra soldiers from
ISAF,s emergency reserve capability. Air support is
provided by Dutch F-16s, and ISAF has a commitment
from OEF forces to lend airborne assets as needed.
Medical assets (Greek/Albanian) have been moved from
Kandahar to Herat for easier access. Planning for
the operation started over a month ago and the
operation began with deployment of increased
personnel o/a June 17. The briefer reported that
there has been no contact with the enemy yet, but
that the increased number of security personnel has
been seen and noticed.

- Engagement: Primary themes are to promote the
authority of the GOA; ISAF and ANSF are maintaining
security in order to enable development. Engagement
will take the form of face-to-face meetings (key
leaders and patrols); media/press (Afghan and ISAF),
loudspeaker messages in rural areas, billboards and
leaflets, radio and tv messages, and dissemination
of crank radios.

- Development: Based on the principles that
development should be Afghan owned, ISAF enabled,
wholly collaborative, and sustainable. ISAF IX
brings capabilities in technical and physical
assistance, situation awareness, communications and
liaison reach, and targeted security effort to
enable development programs. During the brief,
several maps and charts were presented showing the
laydown of development projects in Farah compared
against areas where there have been security
incidents or there is a local perception of
insecurity. It was determined that the ISAF PRT
should to the extent possible extend its support to
development projects in outlying areas where there
is this perception of insecurity. ISAF is looking
particularly at road, power, and irrigation
projects. The briefers emphasized that they are
coordinating its development planning with USAID and
other aid organizations as well as CFC-A where
appropriate.

7. (SBU) ISAF is also considering how it can support
the ANP in Farah. ISAF Brigadier General Davis, who
has the lead for reconstruction and development, is
working with the PRT to identify equipment needs for
the police, in coordination with CSTC-A.

Comment
-------

8. (SBU) PRT Comment: To make the development
aspect of this operation sustainable, the Provincial
Coordination Center and ANP resources will have to
be enhanced. In particular, improved transportation

KABUL 00002972 003.2 OF 003


and communications equipment will help with
operational capability and reach. The ANP,s
increased sustainable abilities will provide the
long-term stability needed when Operation Turtle
concludes.

9. (SBU) Embassy Comment: The ANP national fielding
plan and recent rebalancing has focused on
expediting equipment delivery to the provinces east
of Farah. While CSTC-A recently delivered weapons
and ammunition to the Farah provincial police,
anything more that ISAF can do to strengthen the ANP
would be very welcome, and we will pursue this here.
Overall, Operation Turtle is a positive indication
of ISAF,s commitment, under British leadership, to
take a more active approach to stability operations
in the areas for which it has responsibility. The
recognition that Operation Mountain Thrust will have
consequences for ISAF areas even before the Phase
III handover, and ISAF,s willingness to increase its
assets in Farah to respond to this potential threat,
is another positive sign of the British approach.
ISAF,s briefing for the international community,
which was both professional and informative, was
also a very positive step in bringing together
disparate elements of the NATO/ISAF diplomatic
community in Kabul in support of ISAF IX,s more
activist approach.
NEUMANN

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