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Cablegate: Prt/Qalat - Drug Situation in Zabul: Record

VZCZCXRO7682
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #2976/01 1841016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031016Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1156
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 2657
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2801
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6110
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1482

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 002976

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
RELEASABLE TO NATO/AUST/NZ/ISAF

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

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: PRT/QALAT - DRUG SITUATION IN ZABUL: RECORD
SEIZURES ON THE RING ROAD; POPPY PRODUCTION STILL
SMALL BUT INCREASING

KABUL 00002976 001.2 OF 002

1. Summary: The ANP have seized over 18,000
kilograms of drugs in the past 14 months, primarily
along the Ring Road linking Kandahar to Kabul. The
UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) expects the
local poppy cultivation, although small, will
increase more than 50% this year. End Summary.

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SEIZURES
--------

2. Zabul Province is located along the Ring Road
connecting the capital Kabul with the country's
second most important city, Kandahar. The former
Provincial Chief of Police (CoP), Gen. Nabi (who had
been the former Afghan Highway Patrol commander from
Kandahar to Ghazni, and is now the Helmand
Provincial CoP) aggressively hunted for vehicles
transporting drugs from Kandahar to Kabul
(occasionally drugs are seized going in the opposite
direction). From the beginning of the previous year
in the Islamic calendar until his departure, about
14 months, the ANP in Zabul had seized approximately
18,000 kg of drugs. The new CoP, Gen. Nur Mohammed
Paktin has been in office less than a month, but his
police have had five major drug seizures, including
404 kg of opium on 28 June (the total of opium
seized nationwide from 1 January to 1 July is 12,246
kg).

SOURCES OF FRICTION WITH KABUL
------------------------------

3. (SBU) The Zabul police complain that they do not
receive funding commensurate with the amount of
drugs that they seize. They point out that
additional funding could be used to pay rewards to
informants, obtain better search equipment and hire
more officers to assist in searches. Vehicle
searches, especially those requiring dismantling of
vehicles, are very time-consuming and labor-
intensive.

4. (SBU) The Zabul police also complain that the
rules regarding forfeiture of vehicles involved in
transporting drugs are not clear. Often, the owner
will claim the driver was smuggling drugs without
his permission, and the vehicle will be released to
the owner. Both these issues will be raised at the
provincial justice conference, which has been
postponed several times.

GROWING PAINS WITH THE NEW LAW
------------------------------

5. (SBU) Since January, a new law has required that
the suspects and seized drugs be sent to Kabul in
cases involving more than 2 kg of heroin, 5 kg of
opium, or 50 kg of hashish. In the first case in
Zabul under this law, the Ministry of the Interior
did a poor job coordinating with the Chief of
Police, expecting the PRT and DEA to make most of
the arrangements for them. Chief Nabi was very

KABUL 00002976 002.2 OF 002


concerned about the MoI representatives stealing the
drugs themselves, until he was advised that they
would be escorted by US DEA agents. The MoI
subsequently determined that it could fulfill its
obligation by obtaining a sample from each seizure
(for forensic testing). Transfers to Kabul have
now become routine. The case file, suspects and
samples are sent to Kabul and the remainder of each
large seizure is burned locally.

AMBIVALENCE TO NEW SPECIAL NARCOTICS COURT
------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) More than half of the felony-type cases
tried in Zabul are still drug cases. The Director
of Prosecutors opines that they should all be tried
locally, not in Kabul. The Director of Courts
doesn't think it matters, as the problem is high
level GoA officials involved in the drug business.
The PRT MoI Liaison officer, however, believes it is
a good idea to try major drug cases in Kabul, so
that local officials are not threatened.

PRODUCTION STILL SMALL, BUT INCREASING
--------------------------------------

7. Zabul is a major transit point, but not a big
poppy growing province. According to the UN Office
on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2005, Zabul produced
2,053 hectares of poppies, out of the 103,907
hectares grown nation-wide. However, in 2006, UNODC
expects an overall increase in excess of 50%.

8. (SBU) Anecdotally, PRT members have seen poppy
fields in all districts, including here in Qalat.
During a visit to Nabahar District, locals
complained to PRT members that the Government had
promised assistance in return for not growing
poppies, but had received none of the promised
assistance.

9. (SBU) Governor Arman has also expressed his
frustration that no funding had been provided to
Zabul Province by the GoA to discourage poppy
production, despite large amounts of funding for
neighboring Kandahar Province. He reported that 303
hectares had been eradicated this year.

COMMENT
-------

10. (SBU) Gen. Paktin is preoccupied with the
security situation, but is still trying to actively
interdict drug traffickers. Zabul now has a
Director of Counter Narcotics, but he has only been
in office for several weeks. We anticipate Zabul
will remain a leader in terms of the amount of drugs
seized.

NEUMANN

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