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Cablegate: Demarche Request for Japanese Ring Road

VZCZCXRO3800
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #3851/01 2411017
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291017Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2148
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2779
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2928
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6257
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1606

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003851

SIPDIS

SIPDIS, SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCA/FO (DAS GASTRIGHT), SCA/A, S/CRS, SCA/PB,
S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID A-AA/ANE MARK WARD, CDHA/DG, NSC
FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR BREZINSKI
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID ETRN ELTN SNAR ASEC AF
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE REQUEST FOR JAPANESE RING ROAD


1. (SBU) Summary and Action Request: Representatives of
Embassy Economic Section, CFC-A, USAID/Afghanistan, and U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineering District
(AED) have held several recent meetings with the Japanese
Embassy to discuss the status of suspended work on their 114-
kilometer section of the ring road. The Japanese report
that work is about to resume on Phase A of this stretch; due
to security-related cost overruns, however, they are seeking
additional funding to allow completion of Phase B. Embassy
requests that Washington demarche the GOJ at a high level to
ensure adequate and timely funding to complete the project.
The Japanese stressed that they have legal constraints
against contracting with a foreign military to perform the
work. End Summary.

2. (U) Representatives of Embassy Economic Section, CFC-
A, USAID/Afghanistan, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Afghanistan Engineering District (AED) have held several
recent meetings with the Japanese Embassy to discuss the
status of suspended work on the 114-kilometer section of the
ring road that Japan is funding from KH Sec 2 - KH Sec 116.
This stretch is the only section of the ring road between
Kabul and Herat that has experienced serious delays; the
section funded by Saudi Arabia will be completed this year.
[Background: the company previously contracted by Japan to
build this road abandoned work - without having actually
improved any part of the road - for security reasons in
April 2005. The road therefore remains in extremely poor
condition, passable only with difficulty and very slow
travel times.]

3. (SBU) CFC-A, USAID, and AED met Sunday August 20 with the
Japanese DCM and Economic Cooperation Officer. The Japanese
thanked us for clarifying a previous offer of USG support
and requested detailed information on what AED and USAID
could do "informally." AED gave the Japanese DCM a sheet of
suggested advisory technical services that AED could supply
on a pro bono basis. These included:

a) Advice and consultation (no cost) to the Government of
Japan during the different stages of the project.

b) Prior to issuing a contract tender, AED could advise on
the standard and special contract stipulations that are
applicable to construction in the region.

c) During tendering of the contract, AED is available to
provide advice regarding procurement methods in Afghanistan
and specifically in the region of the Ring Road.

d) During evaluation and negotiations, AED could provide
unit cost information regarding materials, supplies, and
labor.

e) After contract award, AED could offer advice on the
initial coordination that should occur with the local
villages, local sub-contractors, local Afghan Police and
Army, and with the regional U.S., Coalition and ISAF forces.

AED is preparing a letter for signature by Commanding
General Eikenberry to cover a white paper that contains more
detailed information to assist the Japanese in defining
contract terms that will expedite the process and enable
road work to get underway soonest.

4. (SBU) The group then discussed the status of Japan's
effort to find a new contractor for this roadwork. Through
a competitive procurement, Japan has selected an Indian firm
(one with which USAID has worked successfully) to do as much
of the 114 kilometers as possible. Unfortunately, security
concerns have significantly increased the cost of this road
from the original estimate of 62 million dollars. For
approximately this amount, the proposed contractor now

KABUL 00003851 002 OF 002


estimates that it can complete only half the length of the
road. Accordingly, the Japanese have divided their portion
of the road into Phase A and Phase B. Phase A covers
approximately half the total number of kilometers and will
include the portions of the road that are four-lane (those
closest to Kandahar City). They intend to proceed with
Phase A now; indeed, they believe that bringing U.S.
expertise to bear on the contracting for Phase A would
actually slow them down. Their best guess is that the
contracting process will be complete by late September, and
that roadwork will resume on Phase A, in October. The
Japanese Embassy has asked Tokyo to provide the remaining
funds required to allow them to complete Phase B.

5. (SBU) In a dinner hosted August 22 for the USAID Mission
Director, Econ Counselor, and the head of USAID's
Infrastructure Office, the Japanese DCM spoke frankly and
colloquially about the need for U.S. support for his
Embassy's request that Tokyo provide the additional funding
needed to complete Phase B and to do this in a timely
manner. He did not provide a cost estimate, but Post
assumes that it will be a lower cost than Phase A.

6. (SBU) Comment: The Japanese here understand the urgency
of completing the road. They also know that, now that work
has resumed on the Saudi-financed portion of the Ring Road
(KH Sec 116 - Sec 231), they are the odd man out. In Post's
opinion, an appropriately high-level demarche to Tokyo might
prove very helpful in convincing the Japanese Ministries of
Foreign Affairs and Finance to support their Kabul Embassy's
request for additional funding. One point, however, emerged
very clearly from the conversations described above: while
the Japanese Embassy welcomes the offer of pro bono AED
advisory assistance, they stressed that the U.S. military
cannot be used to actually carry out the Japanese project.

7. (U) Action request: Embassy recommends the suggested
demarche to Tokyo be delivered at a high level and as soon
as possible.

NEUMANN

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