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Cablegate: Kazakh Delegation Is All Business in Examining Prt

VZCZCXRO5963
OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #4722/01 2741215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011215Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3165
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/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/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3111
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3246
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 6572
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 1921

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 004722

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, SCA/PAB, S/CT, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR BREZINSKI
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, AND POLAD
USNATO FOR AMBASSADOR NULAND
REL NATO/ISAF
RELEASABLE TO NATO/AUST/NZ/ISAF

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958 N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON PARM AORD NATO ETRD EINV KZ
AF
REF: Almaty 3296
SUBJECT: KAZAKH DELEGATION IS ALL BUSINESS IN EXAMINING PRT
OPTIONS


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. A high-level Kazakhstani delegation, led
by Deputy Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov and dominated by
trade, investment and energy officials, visited Afghanistan
September 24-28, to, among other things, examine the
possibility of leading or participating in a Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT). The visit included meetings
with several Afghan ministers, briefings and consultations
at ISAF and CFC-A HQs, and a visit to the Norwegian-led PRT
in the northern province of Faryab. Based on comments made
by Kazakhs during the visit, we believe their primary
objective is to establish a low cost toehold in
Afghanistan. We will be pleasantly surprised if the
Kazakhs agree to establish and lead a new PRT, but think it
is more likely that they will offer to augment an existing
PRT, perhaps with construction engineers and/or
agricultural specialists. END SUMMARY.

ISAF: Strong steer to Sari Pul
------------------------------

2. (SBU) At ISAF HQ, the delegation received a detailed
briefing on the structure and functions of PRTs, as well as
an intelligence assessment on the security situation in the
north of Afghanistan, where Kazakhstan indicated an
interest in establishing a PRT or participating in an
existing one. The ISAF briefer noted that the north of
Afghanistan enjoyed a relatively permissive security
environment. In most parts, the threat was assessed as
"low," and in no area was it greater than "medium." ISAF
Chief Engineer Brigadier General Dickie Davis (UK), who is
responsible for ISAF PRT policy, warmly welcomed
Kazakhstan's interest in PRTs and strongly recommended that
it consider setting up a PRT in the quiet, but relatively
neglected and underdeveloped northern province of Sari Pul,
one of four provinces currently covered by the over-
extended Swedish-led PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif. Davis' staff
subsequently provided the delegation with a 12-page
unclassified assessment of Sari Pul.

SIPDIS

3. (SBU) Davis argued against the Kazakhs establishing a
PRT in Jawzjan province (another northern province
currently covered by PRT Mazar-e-Sharif), noting that it
was important that Jawzjan and Balkh provinces -- dominated
by opposing warlords -- be covered by a single PRT.
Otherwise, ISAF would lose the ability to successfully stem
inter-factional fighting. Davis emphasized that it made
"no military sense" to split Jawzjan from Balkh. However,
in the question and answer period, it was clear that the
Kazakh delegation -- dominated by trade, investment and
energy officials -- found Jawzjan a more attractive
possibility for a PRT, given the border province's stronger
economic base, including proven oil reserves.

CFC-A: Not something to be entered into lightly
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) At CFC-A, Deputy Commander Major General Wilson
(UK) stressed that leading a PRT was a significant (and
expensive) undertaking. He estimated that it cost $5-10
million to set up a PRT and another $2-5 million per year
to keep it running. In order to be effective, a PRT also
had to be able to provide a significant amount of money to
spend on reconstruction and development assistance to the

KABUL 00004722 002 OF 003


local area. He noted that several countries had come to
CFC-A in the past to express an interest in leading a PRT,
only to find out that it was a bigger challenge than they
had realized. Wilson also stressed the importance of a PRT
including a significant number of police officers to help
mentor and train the police in its province.

PRT Maimana: An offer of construction engineers
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) At the Norwegian-led Maimana PRT in the northern
province of Faryab, the delegation had the opportunity to
see first-hand what a well-run, medium-size PRT (about 200
total members) based in a relatively secure area looks like
and how it operates. (Note: The Finnish Government has
invested 2.1 million dollars in the past two years on
developing the provincial justice sector, including the
construction of eleven police stations and training for
local officials. The GOF is in the process of building a
women?s prison. More details will be provided septel. End
Note). Questions from the Kazakhs focused on practical
issues, like the annual running costs of the PRT (estimated
at $10-15 million, including all salaries) and the source
of PRT's logistic support. In response to the PRT
commander's remark that improving secondary roads in the
province required more attention, Deputy Foreign Minister
Abdrakhmanov wondered what the per-kilometer cost of roads
was in the province and asked whether the PRT could
accommodate a group of Kazakh engineers and their road-
building equipment. The PRT commander replied that while
there was no extra room on the current PRT compound, the
Kazakh engineers and equipment would be "very welcome" in
the new, larger PRT compound, currently under construction
next to the Maimana air strip and scheduled for completion
next spring. Upon boarding the plane to return to Kabul,
members of the delegation were overheard commenting to each
other, that since they had to find "something" to
contribute to the ISAF/Coalition mission, perhaps it might
be providing just a couple of individuals to a PRT, "like
the Finns have done" in Maimana.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) Kazakhstan will almost certainly make some kind of
offer in support of the ISAF/Coalition mission here in
Afghanistan. That decision, driven by political
imperative, appears to have already been made; the only
question is how extensive the offer will be. We will be
pleasantly surprised if the Kazakhs agree to establish and
lead a new PRT, but think it is more likely that they will
offer to augment an existing PRT, perhaps with construction
engineers and/or agricultural specialists. The Kazakhs are
clearly examining the options here through economic lenses
and weighing the costs of establishing a PRT against the
potential benefits it might yield in business deals. Were
the oil-rich and well-connected border province of Jawzjan
on offer for a PRT, Kazakhistan might be more tempted to
take the plunge, given the potential spin-off opportunities
it could create for Kazakh business interests. They seemed
to find Sari Pul -- a economic back-water that has no
developed provincial center and lies far off the ring road
? a far less attractive alternative.

KABUL 00004722 003 OF 003

NORLAND

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