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Cablegate: Prt Herat: Local Reactions to the Goa

VZCZCXRO2677
OO RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #5816/01 3460823
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 120823Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4828
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3379
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
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RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//JF/UNMA//
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 005816

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, AND POLAD
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: PRT HERAT: LOCAL REACTIONS TO THE GOA
ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Reaction to the Attorney-General,s
ongoing anti-corruption campaign is overwhelmingly positive
in Herat. Heratis see this as the beginning of a groundswell
against corrupt practices and a climate of backdoor dealing
that has been pervasive in the past. Key figures have not yet
been brought to trial, but local observers are satisfied that
the process is in motion. END SUMMARY.

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THE CORRUPTION SCANDAL IN HERAT
-------------------------------

2. (SBU) Attorney General (AG) Sabit,s anti-corruption
campaign, which has targeted several leading politicians in
Herat, continues to reverberate in the city. There is
widespread support for this effort, as prior to the AG,s
concrete steps, confidence in the GOA was starting to ebb in
Herat. Anti-corruption efforts are seen here as a litmus test
of how serious the GOA is on meeting its internal challenges.

3. (SBU) While there has been much attention on the AG,s
efforts to target Herat,s mayor, he has spread a wide net.
Some of the eleven accused of malfeasance are alleged to have
ties to Iranian intelligence. These include two previously in
charge of the city,s fuel supplies, Abdul Rahman Nikbeen and
Ahmed Jan Kakar. A number of PRT key contacts associate the
current wave of prosecutions with the beginning of the end of
Mujahedden(Muj) rule in Herat, since a majority on Sabit,s
list include former colleagues of Ismail Khan (IK). The Mayor
in particular is seen as a remnant of IK,s administration in
Herat. Of course, others accuse Sabit (an ethnic Pushtun) of
an anti-Tajik campaign. Most, however, agree that the two
cases in which the Mayor is accused of embezzlement ring
true: the construction of a new five-star hotel and the
expansion of the National Garden in Herat.

4. (SBU) Both of these projects were begun while IK was
Governor, and had his tacit approval. Neither project went
through a formal bidding process. Mayor Mojadaddi is accused
of skimming several thousand dollars from the contracts
issued, as well as altering fuel records for fuel consumed by
city vehicles used in the National Garden project. The Chief
of the Provincial Administration,s legal department,
Mo,alem Majid, is accused of illegally selling off
city-owned properties. Others that may have abused their
offices include the former Chief of the Public Works
department and the former deputy of Herat municipality, Salim
Taraky. Rounding out the list of alleged embezzlers are
Mohammed Ehsan, the Director of the Herat Municipality forest
preservation section, and the Enjil District Prosecutor,
Enayatullah Besharat. The Chief of Herat,s passport
department was caught red-handed demanding $1,000 for issuing
four passports. The Chief of Traffic Police is accused of
demanding $12,000 for taxi permits from a private transport
agency which works the Herat-Meshad (Iran) route. The Chief
of the Torghundi (Turkmenistan) Customs border crossing point
is also accused of embezzlement.

5. (SBU) Governor Syed Anwari has been interviewed on
national television regarding the ongoing corruption scandal.
Responding to charges that he sought to prevent Sabit from
arresting Mayor Mojadaddi, Anwari noted that all public
officials are accountable for their actions and said he was
ready to cooperate with Sabit. Anwari also said he resented
being left out of the loop as Karzai,s representative in
Herat Province. Ismail Khan also spoke up on Tolo TV.
Responding to charges that the accusations focus on officials
who served him directly as Governor of Herat Province, IK
defended Mojadaddi, calling him a &national hero8.


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COMMENT

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6. (SBU) Observers in Herat are curious as to whether Sabet's
anti-corruption campaign will be pursued equally aggressively
in the southern Pashtun provinces. In the case of Herat, a
key figure leading the local campaign will be the
newly-appointed Chief Prosecutor, Maria Bashir, who appears
to be a serious public servant. The key will be whether these
cases are successfully brought to trial. Arrest warrants have
begun to be issued, but the first, to Mayor Mojadaddi, has
not been served. The mayor has appeared on Afghan national
TOLO TV, defending himself, claiming there is no reason for
him to escape the country and reiterating his claim that
whatever he had done was done at the behest of then-Governor
Ismail Khan. Mojaddadi,s brother, Mohammed Sharif
Mojadaddi, is the head of the Western Region GOA Peace and
Reconciliation Commission in Herat. Under AG Sabit,s direct
orders, he too was detained briefly but and then released.
Sebghatullah Mojadaddi, Speaker of the Meshrano Jirga and
head of Afghanistan's Peace and Reconciliation Commission,
has publicly defended his relative the Mayor. Heratis are
patient, but they will be watching closely to see if tangible
outcomes and convictions result from Sabit,s public
campaign, or whether it is back to business as usual. END
COMMENT.
NEUMANN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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