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Cablegate: An Emotional Karzai Launches Action Plan For

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OO RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #5825/01 3461637
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121637Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4839
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 3387

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 005825

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SENSITIVE
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STATE FOR SCA/FO DAS GASTRIGHT, SCA/A, S/CRS, SA/PB, S/CT,
EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC PASS TO NSA FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR KIMMITT
CENTCOM FOR CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MCAP PHUM PREL PGOV PTER MOPS AF
SUBJECT: AN EMOTIONAL KARZAI LAUNCHES ACTION PLAN FOR
PEACE, JUSTICE, AND RECONCILIATION

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) President Karzai broke into tears during his
December 10 speech launching Afghanistan,s Action Plan for
Peace, Justice and Reconciliation. While recounting the
atrocities suffered by the Afghan people over the past 30
years, he noted that Afghans had suffered at the hands of
both terrorists and NATO air strikes. He proclaimed December
10 a National Day of Remembrance for war victims in
Afghanistan. The Action Plan announced by Karzai was
originally adopted by the Government of Afghanistan (GOA) in
December 2005 but had since fallen on the backburner. One
year later, President Karzai,s speech - symbolically given
on International Human Rights Day - was an attempt to refocus
GOA, civil society and international community efforts on the
issue of transitional justice and war crimes. However, full
implementation of this Action Plan, which would presumably
implicate some members of the GOA, faces a long,
politically-charged road ahead. END SUMMARY

--------------------------------------------- ---
ACTION PLAN ON TRUTH, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (U) The Action Plan is a government-approved strategy to
address the past atrocities committed in Afghanistan by
responding to the needs of victims, ensuring accountability
and promoting reconciliation. It was drafted by the Afghan
Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), in consultation
with the GOA and United Nations Assistance Mission to
Afghanistan (UNAMA), and was originally adopted by
Presidential Decree in December 2005. Unfortunately, no
progress on implementation had been made since then, so the
AIHRC orchestrated President Karzai,s &launching8 of the
plan on December 10 in order to reinvigorate efforts to
implement it. The Action Plan has five key components: (1)
acknowledgement of the suffering of Afghans, including the
designation of a National Day of Remembrance, creation of
national memorial sites and a national museum; (2) creation
of credible and accountable state institutions by vetting
civil service employees for involvement in past atrocities,
and reform of the judiciary; (3) truth-seeking commissions
and documentation of past atrocities; (4) promotion of
national reconciliation and unity through public debate and
awareness; and (5) establishment of accountability mechanisms
to bring to justice those responsible for grave human rights
abuses.

3. (SBU) Contacts at UNAMA note that a lack of political
will has stalled implementation of the Action Plan thus far.
According to Javier Leon Diaz who leads UNAMA,s work on
transitional justice, there is not enough civil society
involvement in the plan,s implementation, probably because
there was very little civil society involvement in the plans
creation. Furthermore, the plan identifies seven ministries
as having roles in its implementation, but Mr. Leon Diaz is
doubtful that these ministries are even aware of their roles.
UNAMA staff have noted that most of the ministers who were
around when the plan was drafted in 2005 were subsequently
not confirmed by the Parliament; as a result, there is very
little ministerial awareness and support for the plan.

--------------------------------------
POLITICS BEHIND THE SCENES EVOKE TEARS
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Not surprisingly, some controversy surrounded
Karzai,s plans to launch the Action Plan on December 10.
The program began significantly late because, as its
scheduled start time approached, AIHRC Chairperson Dr. Sima
Samar was reportedly still negotiating with the Palace on

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whether President Karzai would in fact use his speech to
launch the Action Plan and go into detail about its purpose
or whether he would simply cite Afghanistan,s achievements
to date in Human Rights. (Note: Members of Parliament such
as Ustad Abdrab Rasoul Sayaf and Burhanuddin Rabbani are
rumored to have instigated some resistance to the
President,s planned announcement because they or their
allies may be implicated if violators of human rights abuses
are prosecuted.)

5. (U) Ultimately, of course, Karzai did announce the plan.
Interestingly, however, he did not use any of the remarks
prepared for him by the AIHRC. Instead, he spoke from the
heart in Pashto and Dari, recounting the suffering Afghans
had endured over the past 30 years. He noted that Afghans
had suffered atrocities from the Russians and the terrorists,
as well as from NATO bombings. "Unfortunately, innocent
Afghans are being sacrificed through terrorism and NATO
bombardment...We cannot prevent the terrorists from coming
from Pakistan, and we cannot prevent the coalition from
bombing the terrorists; our children are dying because of
this," he said. (Note: One Embassy FSN translator observed
that the thrust of Karzai's speech, including the reference
to NATO bombings, was to highlight Afghanistan's perpetual
helplessness, the theme that appeared to evoke the most
emotion as he spoke. End Note) Karzai,s voice cracked and
tears streamed down his face as he described his meeting with
the civilian victims of NATO air strikes and other tragedies.


6. (U) It was a scene that clearly resonated with the
audience. In a very emotional moment, several audience
members -- including members of the AIHRC, Foreign Minister
Spanta, and even Karzai,s own security detail -- were seen
wiping away tears. Later, Karzai added, &It is the
Afghans, responsibility to save their country from this
cruelty. It is up to us to be united and not to be in need
of foreign assistance. The only way to get rid of the
current cruelty is to know the reality and to be united. We
thank the world for supporting us, but the international
community cannot save us unless we save ourselves... NATO and
Coalition forces are with us but not permanently.8

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Afghan National TV broadcast the speech
live; however, subsequent rumors alleged that media outlets
were pressured not to show Karzai,s tears when re-televising
the speech that evening. Indeed, Ariana Television and Tolo
TV cut the segments showing Karzai at his most emotional
during their evening broadcasts. Nader Nadery of the AIHRC,
says he asked Ariana TV officials whether they had been asked
not to show Karzai,s weeping, but was unable to confirm
this, as Ariana TV officials simply replied they did not
think it was appropriate to show the President of the nation
crying. Even so, Nadery noted that many Afghans caught the
live broadcast earlier that day and were significantly moved
by Karzai,s emotion, and others have told us they saw the
tears in re-broadcasts of the speech. &I am a very
outspoken critic of President Karzai, but yesterday even I
was touched by his remarks. And during a Voice of America
program that I did later that evening, many people called in
and spoke of the President,s emotion. I think for the first
time many of them saw him not as the President, but as a
human,8 Nadery stated.

8. (SBU) COMMENT continued: Nadery noted that while
Karzai,s &off-the-cuff8 remarks were touching, parts of
the speech drafted for him by the AIHRC were noticeably
absent. He omitted any mention of the Action Plan,s
non-amnesty clause for rights violators. He also omitted
language that reconciliation does not equal impunity and that
Afghanistan will address past wrongs committed. He did
announce the Action Plan and designate December 10 a National
Day of Remembrance for victims but failed to explain any

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details of the Action Plan. While the public may have
momentarily viewed their tearful President as more human than
politician, Karzai,s ability to portray himself as just
another Afghan deeply disturbed by the suffering of his
people - all while purposely omitting the controversial
details of the Action Plan - reveals his political shrewdness
and reflects the delicate balancing act that will be required
as we and others in the international community work with the
GOA to advance the transitional justice agenda. END COMMENT


NEUMANN

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