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Cablegate: Prt/Panshjir: Kabul-Panjshir Relations Part Ii:

VZCZCXRO9459
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #5891/01 3530428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 190428Z DEC 06 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4955
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3427
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 005891

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CR, S/CT, SCA/PAB, EUR/RPM
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE
NSC FOR AHARRIMAN
OSD FOR KIMMITT
CENTCOM FOR CG CFC-A, CG CJTF-76, AND POLAD
RELEASABLE TO NATO/ISAF/AUS/NZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV AF
SUBJECT: PRT/PANSHJIR: KABUL-PANJSHIR RELATIONS PART II:
THE CAPITAL IN THE PROVINCE

REF: KABUL 5810

KABUL 00005891 001.3 OF 003


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Several events this year have attracted
GOA officials from Kabul to Panjshir, but there is no steady
flow of central government visits. Since his election,
President Karzai has yet to visit the province. The Panjshir
Governor, although appointed by the GOA, operates more as a
Panjshir envoy to the capital than a Kabul representative in
the province. The valley has benefited from very few GOA
funded "pork projects". The improved road link has brought
Kabul closer to the province. Traffic has increased
three-fold this year in and out of the valley, much of it
from Kabul. Indeed, the road may have started a process of
"Kabulization" of the valley, but it still lacks a strong GOA
component. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) In terms of political, commercial and
people-to-people ties, the PRT has witnessed several dramatic
changes between Panjshir and Kabul this past year. This is
the second of two messages on the subject. Part I (reftel)
examined the role of Panjshiris in Kabul. Part II reports on
Kabulites in Panjshir.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Kabulites in Panjshir: Locals Disappointed With Them
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (U) As noted in reftel, several Panjshiris hold positions
of prominence in the central government in Kabul, including
First vice-president Massoud, National Directorate of
Security (NDS) Director Saleh, Wolesi Jirga Speaker Qanooni,
Meshrano Jirga members Fahim Khan and Aref Sarwari, and Army
Chief of Staff Bismullah Khan. They all have large houses,
with the exception of Qanooni, and numerous relatives in the
valley. They are occasional visitors to the home province,
most frequently on summer weekends. The improved road has
shortened the commute from Kabul to under three hours.

4. (SBU) In the popular perception, however, these
Panjshiris have not established a community presence nor
exercised much local leadership. The PRT hears frequent
complaints that the GOA Panjshiris have failed to direct
developmental funds to Panjshir. They have, to be sure,
supported a few local projects out of their own pockets, but
only after arm-twisting from the Governor. For example,
Aref, Saleh and Former FM Abdullah have all underwritten
schools near their homes. Fahim Khan is single-handedly
financing the new central mosque with USD 135,000. Bismullah
Khan helped build a mosque in his neighborhood. VP Massoud
is a leader of the Massoud Foundation, which is involved in
several projects in Panjshir.

5. (SBU) But Panjshiris tell us they expect more GOA funding
as a result of their high-powered delegation in Kabul. A
refrain we hear is that the Panjshir officials in Kabul are
more interested in their personal welfare than in the
province's well-being.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
Non-Panjshir Kabul Officials: Even Less Focus on the Valley
--------------------------------------------- --------------

6. (SBU) The non-Panjshir officials in Kabul are an even
scarcer presence in the province. President Karzai has yet
to visit Panjshir since his election, despite repeated
invitations, according to the Governor. Locals recall he
attended a commemoration for Ahmed Shah Massoud several years
ago. Our contacts tell us Karzai enjoys little popularity in
the valley, in part because Panjshiris believe Karzai has
willfully neglected the valley. According to Parliamentarian
Aref, Panjshiris suspect Karzai ignores them because they
voted overwhelmingly for native son Qanooni in the 2004
elections. A USAID-supported Town Hall Meeting, held July 20
in Panjshir, proved to be a useful forum for airing of views.

KABUL 00005891 002 OF 003


It was also notable, for the Governor and other Panjshiris,
because the invited GOA officials did not attend.

--------------
Positive trend
--------------

7. (U) Despite the spotty presence of the GOA in Panjshir,
four events this year, all supported by the PRT, attracted
GOA officials to the valley:

-- On March 26, the Governor organized a "Civic Pride Day"
with the attendance of WJ speaker Qanooni, WJ member (and
former President) Rabbani, Parliamentarian Regestani,
Parliamentarian (and former Defense Minister) Fahim Khan and
Energy and Water Minister Ismael Khan.

-- On September 10, Panjshir hosted a commemoration of the
fifth anniversary of Ahmed Shah Massoud,s death. It brought
together the biggest assembly of GOA officials in the valley
at any single time: VP Massoud, Saleh, Bismalluh Khan,
Senator Aref, WJ member Rabbani and Ministry of
Rehabilitation and Rural Development (MRRD) Minister Zia.
Former office-holders were also present, including former
Foreign Minister Abdullah.

-- On September 23, as arranged by the Ambassador, a
discussion forum took up matters related to the Panjshir road
project. The Deputy Minister of Public Works, Roosili,
visited the valley for the first time in a public setting.
He was accompanied by two Panjshir parliamentarians,
Regestani and Azatyar. They engaged with local leaders on
road issues, such as the decision to use a non-asphalt
surface. Regestani noted the importance of the improved road
in connecting the capital and the province, and portrayed
himself as a link between the government in the Kabul and the
people in Panjshir.

-- On October 11, another event served to profile GOA
officials in Panjshir. Speakers at the opening of the
Teachers, Training College included WJ Speaker Qanooni and
Deputy Minister of Education Ghaznawi. The Governor praised
Army Chief of Staff Bismullah Khan for transferring the
building from his ministry to that of education; and thanked
the Education Minister for officially designating the
building a teachers, academy.

8. (U) Three of these four events have taken place this
fall, suggesting a positive trend of a more active GOA
presence in the valley. Asked if he regarded these events as
an emerging pattern, Senator Aref concurred, but added that
resources were still not flowing from Kabul to Panjshir as a
result.

----------------------
Resident GOA officials
----------------------

9. (SBU) Panjshiris tend to view their Governor and line
directors as provincial envoys to Kabul rather than GOA
representatives in the province. Drawing on the Commanders'
Emergency Relief Projects (CERP) funding, the PRT has
supported the Governor and two of the line directors --
education and health -- who have demonstrated competence and
commitment. The PRT has encouraged them to use our support
to leverage the GOA for additional resources. A successful
example pertains to the Teachers, Academy (see para 7
above). The best-resourced line directory in the valley is
MRRD; but, with its reputation for substandard work, it does
not represent the GOA with distinction.

--------------
"Kabulization"
--------------

KABUL 00005891 003 OF 003

10. (U) In one respect, Kabul has significantly increased
its presence in the valley. The USAID-supported road projects
have now almost completed a paved link between the capital
and the province. According to the police at the mouth of
the valley, traffic in and out of Panjshir has increased
three-fold this past year, much of it from Kabul. Kabulites
often visit Panjshir on weekends as a respite from the
crowded, dusty metropolis. Commerce, too, has picked up from
Kabul, especially in the form of truck traffic, now more
profitable given the better roads.

-------
Comment
-------

11. (SBU) There is more Panjshir in Kabul than Kabul in
Panjshir, although the GOA has achieved a modest expansion of
its presence in Panjshir this year. The PRT has assisted by
supporting events that draw GOA officials and by resourcing
GOA officials resident in the province, including the
Governor and the few strong line directors. Perhaps most
importantly, the USG has helped through its
multi-million-dollar road projects. END COMMENT.
NEUMANN

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